Audi Journey to Electrification

Meet the all-electric Audi e-tron

Over the past 40 years, the slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” meaning advancement through technology has been apparent in Audi's processes. With many cutting-edge innovations such as quattro all-wheel drive, TFSI and TDI engine technology, lighter aluminium space-frame chassis and advanced aerodynamics. With numerous new plug-in hybrids being introduced to the Audi range in the next few years it’s important to see where it all started. 

Audi DUO
Fully electric/ plug-in hybrid cars may seem all relatively new innovations, however 30 years ago Audi built its first hybrid vehicle known as the Audi Duo. The Audi Duo was built in 1989 and was a star of the 1990 Geneva Motor Show. The Audi Duo featured a 2.3 litre, five-cylinder petrol engine that sent 136PS to the front wheels, while a nickel-cadmium battery mounted underneath the boot floor powered a 9kW (12.6PS) Siemens electric motor that drove the rear axle. 

Audi DUO
Hybrid technology has drastically evolved, with improved efficiency, power and refinement all advancing at a significant rate. This is illustrated by the the A7 Sportback TFSI e quattro, a high tech vehicle that has the ability to instantaneously switch between driving modes for ultimate efficiency. It wasn’t always as effortless and simple, in order to engage electric driving mode in the 1989 Audi Duo the driver had to put the transmission into neutral and press the E button on the dashboard. The Audi Duo’s electric motor had a range of 24 miles, drastically lower than what today’s hybrid vehicles can achieve. 

Audi DUO petrol/ electric
The Audi Duo was created using a completely standard 100 Avant, but despite being built 30 years ago featured impressive technology. An example of this would be the regenerative braking system, which used kinetic energy to charge the battery pack everytime the brakes were applied. The Duo’s electric motor could reach 31mph by itself before the petrol engine kicked in, and when all-wheel drive was required both the petrol engine and electric motors would work together, hence the name “Duo”. 

Audi DUO
Only ten Audi Duo’s were built, the Duo in the images is now on display in the Audi museum in Ingolstadt, Germany. 

Audi DUO and Audi A7

For more information on the Audi range, please contact your local Harwoods Audi dealership.


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