- Audi's Dakar challenger [Copyright: Audi Sport]

Ekstrom gets to drive Audi's electric Dakar challenge

The manufacturer revealed the new machine to prepare for Dakar.

Mattias Ekstrom gets to drive the new Audi RS Q e-tron, as the German manufacturer reveals its electrified Dakar Rally challenger.

Here's some photos from Audi and also a video:

Audi revealed its Dakar challenger, the RS Q e-tron, which has been physically tested at the hands of its driver, Ekstrom. The German manufacturer wants to be first 'to use an electrified drivetrain in combination with an efficient energy converter to not only compete but also win against the conventional machines'.

Some further details shared by Audi goes:

On board of the Audi RS Q e-tron, there is the highly efficient TFSI engine from the DTM. It is part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving. Since the combustion engine is operated in the particularly efficient range of between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm, the specific consumption is well below 200 grams per kWh.

The drivetrain of the Audi RS Q e-tron is electric. The front and rear axles are both fitted with a motor-generator unit (MGU) from the current Audi e-tron FE07 Formula E car which has been developed by Audi Sport for the 2021 season. Only minor modifications had to be made to use the MGU in the Dakar Rally.

A third MGU, of identical design, is part of the energy converter and serves to recharge the high-voltage battery while driving. In addition, energy is recuperated during braking. The battery weighs about 370 kilograms and has a capacity of around 50 kWh.

The maximum system power of the e-drivetrain is 500 kW. How much of this may be used during the Dakar Rally is still being finalized by the organizers. The electric drivetain offers many advantages. The electric motors can be controlled extremely precisely and can thus ensure good drivability. In addition, braking energy can be recovered.

The Audi RS Q e-tron only needs one forward gear. The front and rear axles are not mechanically connected, as is also common in electric vehicles. The software developed by Audi takes over the torque distribution between the axles and thus creates a virtual and freely configurable center differential, which has the positive side effect of being able to save the weight and space that would have been required by propshafts and a mechanical differential.

Audi is amid a solid testing programme as they wish to take part in several cross-country rally events before stepping up to Dakar. "This project’s schedule is extremely packed and challenging," said Andreas Roos. "Less than twelve months have passed since the project officially started.

"We had to begin the development while the regulations for alternatively-powered vehicles had not even been finalised yet. And all of the development took place during the Corona pandemic. You mustn’t underestimate that either. What the team has achieved so far is unique. The roll-out was a very special moment for everyone."

[Image courtesy: Audi Sport] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]

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