21 July 2020 - Final report
Our time with the Audi Q5 55 TFSIe plug-in hybrid is up, so now’s the point to assess how it fared on the Company Car Today fleet.
Even before lockdown restricted us to only covering short, local, journeys the Audi was returning respectable fuel figures – around the mid-70s for mpg.
Once we were in lockdown all the Q5’s journeys were possible in EV-only mode and the fuel consumption over the month before lockdown and during was an impressive 124mpg.
The one thing that got worse during lockdown, however, was the CO2 figure. Now obviously this isn’t related to the pandemic, but the change to WLTP figures in April meant that while our Q5 TFSIe was a 49g/km CO2 car, if you order the same car today it’s now jumped to 56g/km. However, the car still sits in the 14% BIK tax band which is far better than the diesel’s 37% rating. For a 40% tax-payer the difference is a near £10,000 saving over three years. Impressive and seriously attractive.
Other things we’ve found we like about the Q5 PHEV are the simple way the Q5 automates the energy regeneration using a combination of factors. At no point does the driver have to worry about controlling this and that makes the driving experience simple.
Talking of simple, the interior may not be the most modern in the Audi range against cars such as the newer Q7 or A7 which feature a twin-control-screen set-up, but having driven these newer cars, I prefers a few extra buttons to reduce time spent in menu systems and increase the time your eyes are on the road.
And while we’re talking about the interior; it’s a seriously high-quality place. As well as expensive-feeling materials and excellent build quality, the seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of space for my kids in the back. Another win.
If there’s one criticism of the PHEV version against the ICE Q5, it’s the significantly smaller boot. However, this didn’t have much impact on our use of the car.
As a result, the Q5 has been one of the best all-round company cars we’ve run thanks to low running costs, a prestige feel and being very easy to live with.
7 July 2020
As we come to the end of our time with the Audi Q5 TFSIe, there are a few features that I’ve not mentioned for one reason or another.
Two great and one not so great.
Firstly, the not-so-great. I’ve hardly used the touch-pad for entering satnav destinations for two reasons; the MyAudi app makes it so easy just to send the destination to the car and secondly, I’m not lefthanded, so from the driver’s seat, writing letters on the pad is tricky.
The two great features are actually for back seat passengers. Firstly, there’s digital climate control for those that are back there, and secondly there’s a fold-down arm rest with cupholder. My kids – the main occupants of the back seats – love both these features. The arm rest in particular give the two of them clear separation and stops arguments. And any parent of siblings will tell you this is a very good thing.
23 June 2020
As we’ve said before the Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid has been the ideal car in lockdown. The EV range is easily enough for all the journeys we’ve taken. However, the battery power pack does have an impact on boot space.
The boot in the conventionally powered Q5 is a healthy 550 litres. In the TFSIe, it’s 55 less at 395 litres.
This does make a difference, but not as much as I initially thought.
The battery pack means the boot floor is higher, but Audi has engineered this so that it’s level with the boot lip, and the storage area is still the same.
The seats still split fold 40:20:40 which is super useful if, say, you buy a particularly long electric chainsaw.
And although the front passenger seat doesn’t fold flat, you can still easily get 1.8m fencing boards in without any trouble.
Once you’ve sorted your garden out, you can also get a couple of dumpy-bags of vegetation into boot to do a socially distanced tip-run.
If you don’t want to touch the boot lid either, the foot-waved-under-rear-bumper system works every time too.
1 June 2020
With all that’s been going on you may not have noticed that we’re in a new tax year and that means a change to company car tax bands.
When we first received the Audi Q5 it sat in the 16% benefit-in-kind band, but, thanks to being registered in 2019 and having a CO2 figure of 49g/km it’s in the 14% band. Great!
However, Audi has revised its official CO2 figures thanks to WLTP regulations, so if you were to register the same specification Q5 PHEV now, the CO2 figure is 56g/km so new versions will be back in the 16% band. Hardly a great difference, particularly when you consider the diesel equivalent is in the 37% BIK band.
So the Q5 TFSIe is still a company car winner.
18 May 2020
Maximising the electric range on the Audi Q5 TFSIe may not be forefront of everyone’s mind while we’re in lockdown, but while a lot of workers are sat at home it’s a good time to learn new skills, so this is bit of a ‘how to’ get the most out of the Q5 PHEV’s battery range.
To start it really is worth selecting E for the efficiency mode. Yes, there’s a slight drop-off in urgency to the acceleration, but the car will easily go an extra few miles in Efficiency compared to the standard Drive mode. What’s good too, is that the Q5 remembers your previous setting so you don’t need to select it every time you get in.
However, the biggest boost to the range appears to be setting the satnav for any journey. Setting the nav means the Q5 will do its best to save and use the EV mode in the most efficient way before you plug-in again.
This was proved on a pre-lockdown 22 mile trip to a business meeting. Despite it being a cold day and the route being mostly motorway, the Q5 still had 2 miles of EV range left when I arrived.
The only issue was a lack of charge points at my destination which meant the return journey used petrol.
1 May 2020
Sometimes you’ve got the ideal car for the ideal time. The current lockdown means very few people are travelling any real distance and I’m the same, just once a week to the local supermarket.
But as it turns out this is ideal territory for the plug-in hybrid Audi Q5.
I last put petrol in the tank nearly eight weeks ago. That’s nearly twice as long as normal because all of the mileage I’ve done since the start of lockdown has been in pure EV mode.
I’m more concerned that the petrol will have gone off, than run out. I’ve done 566 miles on half a tank of fuel which equates to 94.2mpg.
Oddly, with all the pollen in the air, the one thing the car still needs is a regular wash because the blue paint really shows the yellowy-green particles.
17 April 2020
One of the more significant differences the plug-in Audi Q5 has that electrified vehicles from other brands is the way it operates the brake-energy battery regeneration function.
Like all electric cars, when you slow down the Q5 regenerates power to the battery. However, unlike almost every other EV I’ve driven, Audi doesn’t allow the driver to control the strength of that regeneration. In other words, there’s no mode to allow the driver to increase the level of regen. The car controls it all.
If you’ve driven other EVs then this is, at first, a little odd. Sometimes, when driving, the Q5 will just roll to maintain momentum without using the battery when you lift off the accelerator. And other times the Q5 PHEV will activate regeneration and slow the car. This may sound odd, but in the real world it works really well. It’s a little like having a very clever adaptive cruise control on all of the time. If the Q5 ‘sees’ the road ahead is clear and you lift off the accelerator, it will just carry its momentum. If there’s traffic or a junction ahead it will slow using regeneration.
I suspect purists, who like to be fully involved in the driving experience, won’t like this level of automation but for your typical mid-size SUV driver it’s the simplest option and means you can divert your attention to what’s going on ahead, rather than worrying about which mode to be in.
6 April 2020
We’re just over halfway through our time with the Audi Q5 PHEV, so let’s have a look at the fuel costs so far.
Covering 2226 miles has cost £167.06 in petrol, that’s 7.5p a mile, plus £139.66 for electricity which makes for an additional 6.3p a mile. That takes the total fuel-cost per mile to 13.8p. For reference, my electricity costs 14.5p a kWh.
As a comparison, our family BMW 335d Touring, which is similarly quick and similarly sized, has a fuel-only cost of 19p a mile.
Most of the journeys and mileage in the Q5 have, so far, been local, short trips which really helps the economy. As soon as allowed, I’ve got a few longer runs planned, so we’ll see how this impacts the figures.
Most of these reports on the Q5 plug-in hybrid have focused on the hybrid aspects of the car (and will continue to do so), but for one report it’s worth assessing the options our car came with. Especially now that we’re more than 4000 miles in.
The highest-priced option is the panoramic glass sunroof, at £1400. I’ve hardly used it and just think it adds weight; don’t bother.
The comfort and sound pack, at £1395, adds an B&O stereo which is ace, keyless locking, hands-free boot opening (which works every time, unlike some others), some extra interior lighting and a reversing camera. I like and use these features.
A further £1350 gets you the parking assistance pack, which not only includes a 360-degree camera view and automatic parking that actually works, but also some useful safety kit that warns you about oncoming traffic when manoeuvring. It’s a very useful thing to have.
The tour pack (£1250) includes a host of safety gadgets but best of all very smooth and clever adaptive cruise control with stop and start function. Love this.
The £650 upgraded LED headlights are excellent and well worth going for if you can. At £175 the storage pack is the least expensive option and includes lots of handy extra storage ideas. It’s easily worth the money.
4th March 2020
Charging at home means using my 7kw point installed by Chargemaster, which has the added bonus of being able to see (through an online account) how much electricity I’m using in the Q5.
I’ve noticed that the charging won’t happen any faster than 3.5kw (but did charge faster for other PHEVs I’ve had).
Audi says this is a cable-related issue. Early Q5 PHEVs came with a cable that limits the charge speed on single-phase (most residential homes) electricity. Newer cars come with a better cable.
The only real downside is that for public 7kWh charge stations that bill by time, rather than electricity, you’re effectively paying double the cost per hour.
18th February 2020
A friend has asked me how much a fully electric mile costs in the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e, and how does that compare with a petrol-only mile?
It’s a very interesting point, so here are the all-important sums. I’m getting 1.5 miles for every kWh. My home electricity costs 14p a kWh. That means an EV mile costs 9.3p. And a petrol-only mile? Once the battery is drained, I’m getting 30mpg.
With the average price of petrol currently at 126p a litre, that works out at 19.1p a mile. What all this number-crunching means is that if you’re out and about and you find a public charge point that costs more than 28.6p a kWh, there’s no point in paying to use it.
22 January 2020
The Q5 plug-in hybrid has been in our hands fora few weeks and it’s time for some early thoughts.
First things first, it really suits my mix of journeys, the vast majority of which are local, usually acting as Dad-taxi service. As a result, it was nearly a month after the Audi arrived before I first needed to put petrol in because I was able to either charge up at home or, increasingly, while parked waiting for a child to finish some activity or other. On that note, hats-off to Woking for its free and open 22kW charge point in the car park under the WWF building. Doing this means I’m more likely
to go shopping there than in other towns.
The Q5 charges at a maximum of 7.4kWh but the cable supplied with the car only allows approximately 4kWh (on a single-phase, home supply), so from empty the Audi takes about three hours to fill the 14.1kW battery that will take it about 21 (real world) miles – the car’s averaging 1.5 miles per kWh.
The next plus is the myAudi app which allows you to see how charged the car is, where it is, remote lock and unlock and a host of other features. It also lets you pre-heat the car before you even leave the breakfast table. It’s just a shame that this depletes the battery, rather than using electricity directly from the charge point (house supply), even though it’s plugged in.
27th November 2019
Having been in possession of the Audi Q5 55 TFSIe plug-in hybrid for less than a week, it would be a little premature to issue any sort of judgement.
Instead, I’ll just mention the tax position. The petrol-electric hybrid Q5 emits 49g/km of CO2 so sits in the 16% Benefit-in-Kind company car tax band. For reference, a similarly trimmed Q5 40 TDI sits in the 37% BIK band. Ouch.
What’s more, from April next year the plug-in hybrid drops to the 14% band.
For a 40% taxpayer, this means a bill of £9,652 for the Q5 55 TFSIe, while the diesel (which is also slower) would receive a tax bill of £19,008 over three years.
The only question remaining, is how will the fuel costs compare?