Audi bringing new RS Q to Dakar Rally
Two weeks and thousands of km of off-road punishment
Audi is getting ready to take an electric car to the Dakar rally. That brand says it would be the first to take an electrified driveline and compete for the overall win at the off-road event, likening it to the appearance of quattro in the World Rally Championship.
The Dakar Rally, which takes place nowhere near Dakar for ongoing political issues and conflicts, is an off-road event that takes place over two weeks. Daily stages last up to 800 km, and much of it is through areas with zero infrastructure.
How is Audi planning to take an EV through the event? The Audi RS Q e-tron vehicle that will be entered isn’t entirely an EV. It will have a range-extender engine build in. Unlike a traditional plug-in hybrid, the TFSI engine will run strictly as a generator. Operating between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm lets Audi fine-tune the engine for minimal fuel consumption and Audi says it delivers “well below 200 grams (fuel consumption) per kWh.”
That engine will charge a 50 kWh battery through one of three motor generator units. The other two are fitted to the front and rear axles, and they’re the same motor used on Audi Sport’s Formula E car. Audi didn’t say how often the engine will run, or how long of a range the battery is expected to offer.
Audi says the battery is a new development made with one of its partners, but isn’t talking much about it. That means there’s likely something fancy and new that will be put to the ultimate test in the Dakar.
Top power from the axle motors is 671 hp, though Audi says how much of that it will be permitted to use is still being worked on by the event’s organizers. With just one forward gear and the ability to adjust torque balance with software, the RS Q e-tron has some serious potential advantages on the off-road event.
Look for the RS Q at the 2022 Dakar Rally in January, and we expect to see more about it in the months leading up to the event.