The Dakar Rally is one of the most grueling and demanding motorsport events in the world, where drivers and vehicles face extreme challenges across harsh terrains and climates. To conquer this rally, Audi has developed a unique and innovative prototype: the RS Q e-tron, an electric vehicle with a high-voltage battery and an energy converter system. The RS Q e-tron debuted in the 2022 edition of the Dakar Rally, showing its potential by winning six stages and achieving 22 podium finishes. However, it also faced some technical issues and reliability problems that prevented it from reaching the overall victory. Now, Audi is determined to improve its electric beast and prepare it for the 2024 Dakar Rally, where it hopes to claim the title and make history as the first electric vehicle to win the event.
What makes the RS Q e-tron so special?
The Audi RS Q e-tron is not a conventional electric vehicle. It combines an electric drivetrain with an energy converter system based on the TFSI engine and a generator. The electric drivetrain consists of three electric motors: one on the front axle, one on the rear axle, and one between the energy converter and the drivetrain. The electric motors provide a total output of up to 500 kW (680 hp) and a torque of up to 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft). The energy converter system is designed to recharge the high-voltage battery during the stages, as there are no external charging opportunities in the Dakar Rally. The energy converter system uses a highly efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder TFSI engine that runs at a constant speed of 4,500 rpm and produces up to 200 kW (272 hp) of electrical power. The high-voltage battery has a capacity of about 50 kWh and weighs about 370 kg (815 lb). The RS Q e-tron has a weight of about 1,950 kg (4,299 lb) and a length of 4.5 m (14.8 ft), a width of 2.3 m (7.5 ft), and a height of 1.8 m (5.9 ft).