Audi Sport has started testing the new Audi RS Q e-tron, with which Audi will take on one of the greatest challenges there is in international racing in January 2022: the Dakar Rally. Audi is aiming to be the first car manufacturer to use an electrified drivetrain, in combination with an efficient energy converter, to compete for overall victory against conventionally-powered competitors in the world’s toughest rally.
The marathon event lasts two weeks and the daily stages are up to 800 kilometers in length.
Because there are no charging opportunities in the desert, Audi has chosen an innovative charging concept. On board of the Audi RS Q e-tron, there is the highly efficient TFSI engine from the DTM. It is part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving.
Since the combustion engine is operated in the particularly efficient range of between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm, the specific consumption is well below 200 grams per kWh.
Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi says: “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. Our RS Q e-tron was created on a blank sheet of paper in record time and stands for Vorsprung durch Technik.”
Stefan Dreyer, Head of Development at Audi Sport for motorsport projects, adds: “As engineers, we basically see development potential in every component. But in terms of the drivetrain system, we have already achieved a system efficiency of over 97 percent in Formula E. There’s not much more room for improvement. The situation is quite different with the battery and energy management. This is where the greatest development potential lies in electromobility in general. What we learn from the extremely challenging Dakar project will flow into future production models. As always, we are also working closely with our colleagues from road car development on this project.”
Andreas Roos, responsible for the Dakar project at Audi Sport, comments: “What we are trying to do has never been done before. This is the ultimate challenge for an electric drivetrain.”
The prototype of the Audi RS Q e-tron had its first roll-out in Neuburg at the beginning of July. An intensive test program and the first test entries at cross-country rallies are on the agenda from now until the end of the year.