Audi ran three ridiculously cool and complex plug-in hybrid electric cars at this year’s Dakar Rally, and after 13 days of racing, the German automaker has plenty to jostle.
In terms of stage wins, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in car #202 came out on top, with both the first and second place finishes, as well as the third place finish three times. Stéphane “Mr. Dakar” Peterhansel and his co-pilot Edouard Boulanger in the No. 200 car took first and second place finishes. The Audi team consists of Matthias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergqvist in car number 224, with first, second and third finishes.
However, as the dust settled, Ekström and Bergkvist proved to be the most consistent, taking ninth place overall with a time of 41 hours 15 minutes 14 seconds and around 2 hours and 42 minutes behind winners Nasser Al Attiyah. and Matthew Baumel. Sainz and Cruz came in twelfth place with a time of 42 hours, 12 minutes and 24 seconds. Peterhansel and Boulanger came in at a disappointing 57th with a time of 106 hours 45 minutes 16 seconds. The duo made a devastating start to the rally when they took out the rear end of their RS Q E-Tron racer.
Audi hopes to revolutionize the world of rallying with the RS Q E-Tron just as it did in 1981 when it introduced the Quattro all-wheel drive system. However, the company knows that current battery technology cannot compete in a long, multi-day run like the Dakar. Scope is not there. So the car’s 52 kWh battery on the go is charged by a 2.0 liter I4 turbocharged gas engine. This motor is coupled to a generator unit with a motor that feeds the battery. There are two other engine-generator units driving the front and rear wheels. That way, the battery can supply enough power to the stages without stopping to recharge — some up to 500 miles in length.
Cars were leaving every morning fully charged, but preventing the battery from running out quickly can be difficult. Much of the Dakar Rally is spent navigating the dunes, which leads to a large number of trips. Sand provides resistance such as low tire pressures. According to Dakar rules, Audi engine-generator units on the axles must be limited to a total of 288 kilowatts of power, or 386 horsepower, and the inverter can provide only 220 kilowatts of power. While Audi didn’t always expect it to use more power than the car was generating, there were moments when teams experienced a sharp drop in range. However, a complex set of algorithms and engineering magic kept the battery within a specific state of charge.
Audi hasn’t released any torque figures for its hybrid, but the RS Q E-Tron can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph on a loose surface in less than 4.5 seconds and its top speed is limited to 106 mph. The battery adds 816 extra pounds to the chassis. The car also has six cooling systems for the two electric motors, the battery, the transducer, the gas engine and the cabin. There is also about 2.5 miles of cable in the car, and that doesn’t include the 800V battery cables. I don’t envy Audi tech with this one.
The RS Q E-Tron is a great piece of technology, although it still burns dinosaurs to generate electricity. Sure, we all want clean energy, but it’s a slow process to get there.
I’ve campaigned for two electric vehicles at certified motorsports events. theMidday shipment is required during , but I wasn’t after speed, but navigational accuracy. In the Volkswagen accused In a trailer during transit phases on the road. In both cases, power was provided by a diesel generator, although the Rebelle Rally’s charging unit was able to run on hydrogen and only a logistical problem prevented it from doing so.
My point here is that Audi is running on the technology that is currently available. It’s not perfect, but it’s just one step on the road to long-lasting batteries.
In the Dakar Rally, teams face many new challenges, not just driving a test vehicle. Road brochures were distributed 15 minutes before the start of the day’s stage. In previous years, fellow drivers received their books the night before, allowing them to review and feedback.
Moreover, this year’s road brochures were digital. Shared drivers had two screens in front of them. The left showed very crude graphics of the terrain and the route through it. For example, there may be rocks on one side of the note represented by irregular circles and a building on the other side represented by a rectangle. In fact the rocks can be any size and the building can be a hut. If this screen failed, the driver assistants had a stamped paper route book as a backup. On the right screen navigators can see their direction and validate when a virtual waypoint is reached.
This is the first time that Audi has participated in the Dakar Rally, although it is no stranger to electric racing. The company won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 with an electric motor in the R18 E-Tron Quattro and won the two seasons in Formula E in 2017 and 2018. In fact, the Dakar’s automated generator units have been lifted from the tide. The Audi E-Tron FE07 Formula E – with some minor tweaks.