Audi recently launched the e-tron in India, and while many believed that the design was a bit too safe and plain-jane, the latest Audi with the e-tron badge is anything but. After mastering WRC and 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi now looks to take on the famous Dakar Rally. One of the most challenging and unforgiving races in the world, the Dakar is a true test of a car’s capability.
The one Audi will be entering, though, is nothing like the e-tron we have here. The RS Q e-tron is an out-and-out monster developed from the ground up specifically for the Dakar Rally. Shown as a concept a year ago, the test mule is not too far from the futuristic design. What is also worth noting that the whole project was conceived only a year ago and the factory has been at work despite the pandemic to put out this production-ready model.
Speaking of the looks, it will find itself at home amongst its other Dakar rivals thanks to the raised stance, huge tyres and plenty of ducts and fins. It won’t be a surprise if hot wheels decide to start dishing out a scale model of the same. It just looks terrific. The LED headlamps, in particular, are extremely busy, and we hope this trickles down to the conventional Audi’s very soon.
Then you have the heart of the matter, which is an electric powertrain thanks to the e-tron credential. Powering it is the highly efficient TFSI engine from the DTM models 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 front and rear axles are both fitted with a motor-generator unit (MGU) from the current Audi e-tron FE07 Formula E car, which Audi Sport has developed 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, and 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.
How will this monstrous EV fare in the gruesome conditions? Only time will tell, but this is undoubtedly a huge step into the historic race and is more likely to be standard practice soon.