will compete in the grueling next year, but instead with a conventionally powered off-roader, the four-ring brand is ready to introduce its new RS Q E-Tron, a tough little dirt devil with an electrified powertrain. Before the big event in January, tests of this prototype model are already underway.
The Ingolstadt automaker wants to be the first to win the Dakar with an alternatively powered vehicle. Unlike other racing machines that will compete in this arduous rally, the RS Qit is electrically powered. A motor-generator unit is installed on each axle, providing four-wheel drive and a maximum output of 500 kilowatts, about 670 horsepower, although the vehicle may not be allowed to have as much during the race. All that dizzying should allow the RS Q E-Tron to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph on loose surfaces in less than 4.5 seconds.
These powertrains were borrowed from the Audi E-Tron FE07 Formula E car, only slightly modified for use in this application. As in other electric vehicles, conventional transmission is not required here and regenerative braking is supported. The front and rear transmissions of the RS Q E-Tron are not physically connected, but through software the vehicle can simulate that it has a locking center differential to improve traction in difficult conditions.
As for the battery, it is a proprietary design, weighs around 815 pounds, and has a capacity of around 50 kWh. That’s cool, but where are you supposed to charge an electric vehicle in the middle of the desert? Well, this is where the RS Q E-Tron gets really smart. It also has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that powers a third engine-generator unit that recharges the battery. Basically this vehicle is a standard hybrid. When internal combustion engines are used as generators, they can be operated in a narrow range for maximum efficiency. In the RS Q E-Tron, this four-cylinder should run between 4,500 rpm and 6,000 rpm, where it is expected to consume less than 200 grams of fuel per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced.
TheIt was created from scratch in less than 12 months. Giving engineers even more headaches, the rules for reciprocating vehicles had not been finalized when the work began, which also took place during a global pandemic. This vehicle will undergo many tests from now until the main event, the Dakar Rally, begins next January. It will be fascinating to see how this innovative off-road vehicle performs at the event.
Audi RS Q E-Tron is an electrified SUV bound for Dakar
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