an extended range beast prepared for the harsh conditions of the Dakar Rally

The new Carlos Sainz’s electrified car for the 2022 Dakar Rally It is a small off-road beast that they have dubbed as Audi RS Q e-tron, and that it aims to prevail over its rivals with an internal combustion engine.

To achieve this, the cornerstone of the RS Q e-tron a electric drive system with energy converter with which Audi wants to set a new milestone in the toughest rally in the world.

The RS Q e-tron has four engines: three electric and one gasoline. The gasoline one together with one of the electric ones generate electricity for the batteries, while the electric ones are independent and have no connection to each other.

The extreme conditions that occur in the Dakar Rally prevent currently competing with a 100% electric model.

Therefore, the engineering team led by Axel Löffler, responsible for the design of the RS Q e-tron, had to set some basic benchmarks for a new vehicle concept with an electric powertrain and an on-board power converter. without having any previous examples to look at.

The high-voltage battery capacity is 52 kWh, enough to cover the maximum distances foreseen at each stage of the rally. The weight of the high-voltage battery, including the cooling system, is about 370 kilograms.

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Durability and high energy density. The energy density and performance required for this test, as well as the control and safety mechanisms, led Audi to turn to the well-proven round cells as the basis for the high-voltage battery.

The demands of recharging on off-road tours. When the pilots leave the bivouac each morning to start the stage using the electric drive with a charged high-voltage battery, a very complex control system will be put into operation.

Only when the roadbooks are delivered, a few minutes before the start of the stage, can the teams know any details of the route.

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Engineers and electronics specialists have designed and programmed algorithms to keep the charge level within defined ranges based on power demand.

If, for example, the pilots encounter a demanding dune crossing that requires maximum energy for a short period of time, the load level always falls within a controlled range.

The reason is that the power of the motor-generators installed on the front and rear axles is limited to a maximum of 288 kW, in order to comply with the regulations.

Energy recovery. To achieve maximum efficiency in the desert, Audi relies on a principle that it has already used in its Le Mans sports cars and in Formula E: the RS Q e-tron recovers energy during braking.

The MGU units installed on the front and rear axles can convert the rotational movement of the wheels into electrical energy thanks to an intelligent braking system, which combines the hydraulic braking function with the regenerative electric brake.

In Motorpasión | We flew in Extreme E’s CUPRA, a wild electric racing car with Jutta Kleinschmidt at the wheel

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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