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Audi’s RS Q e-tron Dakar racer arrives with range-extender technology

Audi’s RS Q e-tron Dakar racer arrives with range-extender technology

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Audi will head into the extreme Dakar Rally next year with this utilising an electrified powertrain, the go-anywhere vehicle.

Audi will head into the extreme Dakar Rally next year with this - the RS Q e-tron.Utilising an electrified powertrain, the go-anywhere vehicle will be used during one of motorsport’s toughest events. Lasting two weeks, the Dakar Rally requires vehicles and drivers to cover gruelling daily stages of up to 500 miles in length. 

 

“That’s a very long distance,” says Andreas Roos, responsible for the Dakar project at Audi Sport. “What we are trying to do has never been done before. This is the ultimate challenge for an electric drivetrain.”Given that there are very few - if any - charging spots in the desert, Audi has fitted the Q e-tron with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine from one of its DTM racing cars. It isn’t linked to the wheels in any way, however, and is instead used as a range-extender to power the electric powertrain. 

 

An electric motor - taken from the Audi 2021 Formula E car - is positioned on both front and rear axles, with a third used as an energy converter between the battery and combustion engine. The battery is 50kWh in capacity and while the front and rear axles aren’t mechanically connected, software is used to transfer torque between them. The system’s total output is 50kW, though how much of this will be able to be used legally in the rally is still being determined by the event’s organisers. 

 

“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,” said Julius Seebach, managing director of Audi Sport and responsible for motorsport at Audi.