Audi unveils RS Q e-tron to take on Dakar Rally
Built to take on the 2022 Dakar Rally next January, the new RS Q E-Tron aims to be the first vehicle to win the long-distance event with an electrified drivetrain.
The characteristics of the Dakar Rally represent the engineers with unique challenges, with the event lasting two weeks, covering up to 800km in distance daily.
“What we are trying to do has never been done before. This is the ultimate challenge for an electric drivetrain,” said Audi Sport Dakar Project Manager, Andreas Roos.
“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,” added Audi Sport Gmbh Managing Director, Julius Seebach.
The drivetrain of the Audi RS Q e-tron is electric. The front and rear axles are both fitted with a motor-generator unit from the current Audi e-tron FE07 Formula E car, developed by Audi Sports for the 2021 season.
Due to the lack of charging opportunities in the desert, Audi has chosen an innovative charging concept – on board the Audi RS Q e-tron is a highly efficient TFSI engine from the DTM. This forms part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving. Since the combustion engine is operated in the efficient range of between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm, the specific consumption is well below 200 grams per kWh.
“The battery is also a proprietary development that we have realised together with a partner,” said Audi Sport Motorsport Projects Development Head Stefan Dreyer.
“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.”
The electric drivetrain offers many advantages, including extremely precise control, good drivability, as well as the ability to for regenerative braking.
The maximum system power of the e-drivetrain is 500kW however, how much of this may be used in the Rally is yet to be finalised.
The vehicle only needs one forward gear. The front and rear axles are not mechanically connected, as is also common in electric vehicles. The software developed by Audi takes over the torque distribution between the axles, thus creating a virtual and freely configurable centre differential.
Visually, the Audi RS Q e-tron differs significantly from the conventionally powered Dakar prototypes.
“The vehicle looks futuristic and has many design elements that are typical of Audi,” said Audi Motorsport Design Team Leader, Juan Manuel Diaz.
“Our aim was to symbolize Vorsprung durch Technik and the future of our brand,” he continued.
“Audi has always chosen new and bold paths in racing, but I think this is one of the most complex cars that I have ever seen,” said Team Principle Sven Quandt.
“The electric drivetrain means that a lot of different systems have to communicate with each other. Besides reliability, which is paramount in the Dakar Rally, that’s our biggest challenge in the coming months.”
Source: Audi | Audi RS Q e-tron: Test laboratory for possible future technologies at the Dakar Rally
27 July 2021