Rally in an electric car? Audi RS Q e-tron ready to get dirty
Audi has revealed its RS Q e-tron for the upcoming Dakar Rally. This off-road beast comes with an electric drivetrain and features dirt rally-specific updates to conquer challenges thrown during a rally race. Speaking of which, the front and rear axles of the Audi RS Q e-tron are fitted with a motor-generator unit (MGU) that comes from the current Audi e-tron FE07 Formula E car. The latter was developed by Audi Sport for the 2021 season. The motor-generator unit has undergone minor modifications to make it fit for the Dakar Rally. The company has also added a third MGU which is identical in design and is part of the energy converter. It serves to recharge the high-voltage battery while driving. The energy is also recuperated during braking. The weight of the battery is about 370 kilograms and it has a capacity of around 50 kWh.
Since there is no facility for charging the electric vehicle in the desert, Audi has come up with an innovative charging concept. The Audi RS Q e-tron features a turbo fuel stratified injection (TFSI) engine from the DTM. This engine is known for its higher power output while it has greater fuel efficiency. It also reduces emissions. Now, this engine is part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery as the electric car drives. The combustion engine operates in a particular range that lies between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. The specific consumption is well below 200 grams per kWh.
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Managing director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi Julius Seebach shares that Audi is aiming to test the e-tron technology under extreme conditions. “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," he adds.
The Darkar Rally event lasts for two weeks and in the marathon, the daily stages are up to 800 km. Andreas Roos who is responsible for the Dakar project at Audi Sport says that with such a long distance, the automaker is taking the ultimate challenge of pushing the performance of an electric drivetrain.