Audi aspires to be the first manufacturer to win the Dakar Rally with an electric car. And he intends to accomplish it by fighting for victory against automobiles powered by combustion engines.
With this lofty aim in mind, Audi created the RS Q e-tron from the ground up in just one year. This prototype, which represents the leading edge of the method, has already begun an extensive testing program to compete in the Dakar Rally in January of next year.
This might be the most challenging test ever encountered by an electric vehicle: the world's toughest rally lasts two weeks, with daily stages of up to 800 kilometers.
One of the most challenging difficulties in the desert will be recharging the battery. So the four-ringed brand has chosen a unique concept: the TFSI engine from the DTM is mounted onboard the Audi RS Q e-tron as part of an energy converter system responsible for recharging the high-voltage battery while driving.
The Audi RS Q e-tron has an electric powertrain. Both the front and back axles are outfitted with a motor-generator unit (MGU) similar to the one used by Audi Sport's current Audi e-tron FE07 for the 2021 Formula E season.
The power converter includes a third MGU unit that is utilized to replenish the high-voltage battery while driving. Furthermore, the vehicle consists of an energy recovery system for braking. The battery is approximately 370 kilograms in weight and has a capacity of 50 kWh.
The Audi RS Q e-tron requires only one forward gear. There are no transmission shafts or mechanical differentials, as there are in the brand's electric automobiles. Instead, Audi's software is in charge of dispersing torque across the axles, which saves weight and space.
Audi had to begin development before the finalization of racing regulations for vehicles with alternative powertrains. This creates uncertainties, such as maximum power. The electric powertrain can produce up to 500 kW (680 hp), but the Dakar Rally management has yet to decide how much power will be used during the event.