The Audi RS Q e-tron will put the company’s laboratory to the test as they attempt to become the first manufacturer to compete with an electric vehicle in the iconic Dakar Rally. After only a year since the initial concept was launched, Audi will face one of the greatest challenges in international Motorsport with their innovative drive concept scheduled to compete in January 2022.
The Audi RS Q e-tron will use an electrified drivetrain in combination with an efficient energy converter to contend against conventionally-powered competitors in the world’s most rigorous rally. “The quattro was a gamechanger for the World Rally Championship. Audi was the first brand to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with an electrified drivetrain. Now, we want to usher in a new era at the Dakar Rally, while testing and further developing our e-tron technology under extreme conditions,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi. “Our RS Q e-tron was created on a blank sheet of paper in record time and stands for Vorsprung durch Technik.”
The Dakar Rally is a marathon, and constructing an electric car for the race presents unique challenges for engineers. For instance, there are no charging opportunities in the desert, so Audi has created an an innovative charging concept that can power the vehicle throughout the two-week event. On board the Audi RS Q e-tron, there is the highly efficient TFSI engine from the DTM and is part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving.
The front and rear axles are both fitted with a motor-generator unit (MGU) from the current Audi e-tron FE07 Formula E car, which Audi Sport has used for the 2021 season. A third MGU, of identical design, is part of the energy converter and serves to recharge the high-voltage battery while driving. Furthermore, energy is also recovered during braking.