At the most fascinating of rallies, the German brand will field three zero-emission RS Q e-tron. Three integral 680 horsepower racing cars. Many kilometers of racing in extremely severe conditions, no recharging points along the stages. At the wheel: Peterhansel, Sainz and Ekström
No one had tried it before: racing an electric car rally. Not just any rally, but the most fascinating and convincing of all, the Dakar. Audi will be the first manufacturer to attempt the feat. At the next edition that will be held in Saudi Arabia from 2 to 14 January 2022, the German house will participate with three prototypes specially made.
Up to 800 km per day
A challenge full of unknowns, on rough terrain, with long distances (up to 800 km per day) to be faced together with a number of risks for the vehicles and crews. The inability to recharge the batteries on the way will be perhaps the greatest difficulty. The three RS Q e-tron will be equipped with three electric motors each, two intended to guarantee all-wheel drive (one for each vehicle axle), and one for recharging 50 kWh accumulators. The power generated by the integrated system will guarantee 680 hp. A fourth engine, petrol, will serve as range extender with the sole purpose of supplying the energy necessary for recharging during the special stages. But in fact, the transmission of each prototype will be 100% electric.
The experience of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Audi will thus be able to take advantage of the know-how developed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, won in 2012 and in the following two years with the hybrid prototype R-18 e-tron quattro, and the experience acquired since 2014 in Formula E World Championship. The knowledge accumulated in these competitions has allowed us to draw on a sophisticated technology that has allowed us to create lightweight and reliable components. It tidies up extender, a four-cylinder TFSI turbo petrol engine, has been successfully used in the DTM, the German Touring Championship; the engines intended to move the wheels have been developed in the world reserved for zero-emission vehicles, whose experience has also served to develop 370 kg high voltage batteries. A starting point therefore already very competitive which will have to take into account the difficult environmental conditions of the Dakar, starting with torrid daytime temperatures which required a dedicated cooling system.
Four kilometers of cables
Each car will have ben six thermal management systems, in addition to the accumulators, they also consider the intercooler and the passenger compartment. No less complex are the software adopted and the electrical and electronic systems, so much so that they are required two central control units and about four kilometers of cables, not counting the elements of the high voltage system. The German engineers also carefully took care of the integrity of the car, using a mix of light and resistant materials of aerospace origin, combined with aluminum, Kevlar and composite fibers.
The king of the Dakar
Success will also be entrusted to the great experience of the crews. That has happened since Stefan Peterhansel, the king from Dakar (14 successes in over 32 participations) paired with Edouard Boulanger, is that of Carlos Sainz, 2 times world rally champion, winner of 3 editions of the desert marathon, assisted by Lucas Cruz. The third car will be entrusted to Mattias Ekström, 2 DTM wins behind him along with the 2016 Rallycross World Title, sailed by Emil Ergkvist. The first challenge, realize the three prototypes in just 12 months (the first RS Q e-tron was only set in motion in June of this year) has already been won. Getting all the cars to the finish line in Jeddah would still be considered a victory.
November 25, 2021 (change November 25, 2021 | 17:13)
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