Wheels (Australia)

Call of the mild

HOW AUDI’S ‘HYBRID’ SYSTEM HELPS THE ECO CAUSE

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AUDI A CALLS IT a mild hybrid, and while it doesn’t actually do anything about driving the A4s wheels, the system fitted to our test car is interestin­g from a technical point of view. It just doesn’t do that much. With a 1.2kWh battery under the boot floor (which is why there’s a can of repair-goop instead of a spare tyre), the A4 can recoup some braking energy and even switch the engine off to coast and harvest for up to about 10 seconds at a time. That allows the electric motor to which the battery is wired to spin the engine over faster when the stop-start function is making itself useful, with the grunt of 5kW rather than the normal, weedy starter-motor fitted to a convention­al car. Perhaps the most innovative thing about the system is that it also makes use of the front-facing camera to know when the car in front has started to move in traffic and preps the A4 for blast-off.

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