The 671-horsepower Audi RS Q e-tron is an electrified Dakar rally driver

  • Audi is pulling out of Formula E and DTM to focus on Le Mans and Dakar, with the RS Q e-tron set to compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally early next year.
  • The RS Q e-tron borrows two electric motors from Audi’s Formula E program with one on each axle, good for a combined output of 671 horsepower.
  • The 50.0 kWh battery will be charged by a range extender gasoline engine, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four found in Audi’s DTM racer from the 2020 season.

    Audi was a dominant force in Group B rallies in the mid-1980s, winning two constructors’ championships with the revolutionary all-wheel-drive Quattro before turning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000, winning 13 times in the next 15 years and become the first winner with a hybrid powertrain. Audi aims to tick another item off its motorsport bucket list by conquering the grueling Dakar Rally with this hybrid off-road beast called the RS Q e-tron.


    The RS Q e-tron, which will compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally in January, uses a range extension setup that borrows pieces from Audi’s other motorsport programs. If you own an electric vehicle in the United States, you will know that it can be quite difficult to find chargers, and unsurprisingly, it is even more difficult to spot one in the middle of the desert. As a result, the vehicle’s 50.0 kWh battery is charged instead by a gasoline engine which acts as a generator. But it’s not just any gasoline engine, it’s the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four of the Audi RS5 Turbo DTM, Audi’s latest entry into DTM before leaving the series after. the 2020 season.

    audi rs qe tron


    Power from the battery is then sent to two electric motors, one on each axle, from Audi’s Formula E program. Only minor changes differentiate the engines of units in Audi’s e-tron FE07 car, which propelled Lucas di Grassi to a Formula E victory in Puebla, Mexico earlier this year. According to Audi, the total power of the system is 671 horsepower, although this may end up being limited by regulations.

    The RS Q e-tron is a key part of Audi’s new motorsport direction, announced last year, which sees it leaving Formula E after seven seasons to focus on its return to Le Mans and participation in the Rally. Dakar. Three RS Q e-trons will take part in this demanding event in January, and Audi has enlisted drivers including Stéphane Peterhansel, the most successful Dakar driver of all time with 14 victories, Carlos Sainz, two-time rally champion and three-time winner of the Dakar, and Mattias Ekström, who holds two DTM titles and a world rallycross championship. The Dakar rally will last two weeks, with daily stages reaching nearly 500 miles, and will serve as a major test of the durability of Audi’s electrified transmission.

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