Surprise! Many of Audi’s V6 engines will now run on hydrotreated vegetable oil

The firm hopes to reduce CO2 emissions by 70 to 95 percent compared to diesel vehicles.
Loukia Papadopoulos
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Back in March of 2021, Audi announced it was halting the development of new combustion engines.

The firm has now taken a step further toward its "vision of carbon-neutral mobility' by approving many of its current six-cylinder diesel engines for use with the renewable fuel HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil).

The company has ambitious plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

V6 engines on renewable fuels

"We're optimizing our existing combustion engine portfolio for more efficiency and lower emissions. One way we're doing this is by creating the requisite technical foundations for the use of sustainable fuels such as HVO," said Oliver Hoffmann, Chief Development Officer at Audi.

The models to soon run on HVO are the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, and the Q7 and Q8 SUVs. The Q5 will also be added to that list at the start of March and will be followed by the A6 Allroad in the summer. With this new option, Audi hopes to reduce CO2 emissions by 70-95 percent compared to diesel vehicles.

But that is not the only benefit of running on HVO. There's also the fact that the fuel has a significantly higher cetane rating, which will result in more efficient and cleaner combustion in comparison to conventional diesel engines.

"As the cetane rating of HVO is around 30 percent higher, the combustibility of the engines is enhanced. The positive effects of this are particularly noticeable when cold starting. We tested the effects on various components, the performance, and exhaust emissions in specific validation runs before granting approval," added Matthias Schober, head of powertrain development for V-TFSI, TDI, and PHEV at Audi. 

Refueling possible?

The question now becomes: will there be enough HVO at stations for the cars to function? Currently, renewable fuel is available at over 600 filling stations in Europe which is not a very high amount. Still, it is a positive step in the direction of eradicating highly polluting fossil fuels.

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