Audi's RS Q E-Tron Dakar rally cars take multiple stage wins in Saudi Arabia - Roadshow

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Audi ran 3 ridiculously analyzable and chill hybrid electrical vehicles astatine the Dakar Rally this year, and aft 13 days of racing, the German automaker has a batch to crow about.

In presumption of signifier wins, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz successful the No. 202 car came retired connected top, with 2 first- and second-place finishes, arsenic good arsenic 3 third-place finishes. Stéphane "Mr. Dakar" Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger successful the No. 200 car earned themselves 1 first- and 1 third-place signifier decorativeness and 2 2nd places. Rounding retired the Audi squad are Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist successful the No. 224 car with 1 first, 2nd and 3rd finish.

However, erstwhile the particulate settled, Ekström and Bergkvist proved to beryllium the astir consistent, earning a ninth-place decorativeness wide with a clip of 41 hours, 15 minutes, 14 seconds, astir 2 hours, 42 minutes down wide winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel. Sainz and Cruz came successful 12th spot wide with a clip of 42 hours, 12 minutes, 24 seconds. Peterhansel and Boulanger came successful a disappointing 57th spot with a clip of 106 hours, 45 minutes, 16 seconds. The duo had a devastating commencement to the rally erstwhile they took retired the rear extremity of their RS Q E-Tron racer.

Audi is hoping to revolutionize rallying with the RS Q E-Tron conscionable arsenic it did successful 1981 erstwhile it introduced its Quattro all-wheel-drive system. However, the institution knows existent artillery exertion conscionable can't vie successful a long-stage, multiday rally similar the Dakar. The scope conscionable isn't there. So the car's 52-kilowatt-hour artillery is charged connected the spell by a gas-powered 2.0-liter I4 turbocharged engine. Coupled to that motor is simply a motor-generator portion that feeds the battery. Two different motor-generator units thrust the beforehand and rear wheels. In this way, the artillery tin supply capable powerfulness for the stages without stopping for a recharge -- immoderate of them are arsenic agelong arsenic 500 miles.

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The cars near each greeting with a afloat charge, but keeping the artillery from depleting rapidly tin beryllium tricky. Much of the Dakar rally is spent navigating the dunes, which does a fig connected range. The soil provides absorption arsenic bash debased tyre pressures. Per the Dakar rules, the Audi's motor-generator units connected the axles indispensable beryllium constricted to a full of 288 kilowatts of power, oregon 386 horsepower, and the vigor converter tin lone proviso 220 kW of power. While Audi did not expect to ever beryllium utilizing much powerfulness than the car is generating, determination were moments wherever teams saw scope driblet precipitously. However, a analyzable acceptable of algorithms and engineering magic kept the artillery wrong a specified authorities of charge. 

Audi hasn't released immoderate torque numbers for its hybrid contention car, but the RS Q E-Tron tin reportedly accelerate from 0 to 60 mph connected a escaped aboveground successful little than 4.5 seconds and its apical velocity is constricted to 106 mph. The artillery adds an other 816 pounds to the chassis. The car besides has six cooling systems for the 2 electrical motors, battery, vigor converter, gas-powered motor and cabin. There are besides astir 2.5 miles of cables successful the vehicle, and that doesn't see the 800-volt cables for the battery. I bash not envy the Audi techs with this one.

The RS Q E-Tron is simply a beauteous slick portion of technology, though it inactive burns dinosaurs to marque the electricity. Sure, we each privation cleanable power, but it's a dilatory process to get there.

I've campaigned 2 electrical vehicles successful sanctioned motorsports events. The Rivian R1T required a complaint successful the mediate of time during the Rebelle Rally, but I was not rallying for speed, but alternatively navigational accuracy. In the Mexican 1000, Volkswagen charged the ID 4 successful a trailer during the on-road transit stages. In some cases the powerfulness was provided by a diesel generator, though the charging portion for the Rebelle Rally was capable to tally connected hydrogen powerfulness and it was lone a logistical occupation that kept it from doing so.

My constituent present is that Audi is moving with the exertion that is presently available. It's not ideal, but it's conscionable 1 measurement connected the roadworthy to long-range batteries.

In the Dakar Rally, teams are up against galore caller challenges, not conscionable driving an experimental vehicle. Roadbooks were fixed retired 15 minutes earlier the commencement of the day's stage. In erstwhile years co-drivers received their books the nighttime before, allowing for reappraisal and notes.

Further, the roadbooks this twelvemonth were digital. Co-drivers had 2 screens successful beforehand of them. The near showed precise crude drawings of the terrain and the mode through. For example, determination whitethorn beryllium rocks connected 1 broadside of the enactment represented by irregular circles and a gathering connected the other, represented by a rectangle. In world the rocks could beryllium immoderate size and the gathering could beryllium a shack. If this surface failed, co-drivers had a sealed insubstantial roadbook arsenic a backup. On the right-hand surface navigators could spot their directional heading and a validation erstwhile the virtual waypoint was reached. 

This is Audi's archetypal clip competing successful the Dakar rally, though it's nary alien to electrified racing. The institution won the 24 Hours of Le Mans successful 2012 with an electrified drivetrain successful the R18 E-Tron Quattro and winning seasons successful Formula E successful 2017 and 2018. In fact, the motor-generator units connected the Dakar conveyance are lifted from the existent Audi E-Tron FE07 Formula E car -- with immoderate flimsy modifications.

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