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January 4, 2024

Electric Audi RS Q e-Tron Challenges 2024 Dakar Rally

As the 2024 Dakar Rally takes off on January 5, the Audi RS Q e-tron forges ahead in its mission to prove that an electrically powered prototype can conquer the toughest all-terrain motorsport event in the world.

Team Audi Sport has thoroughly optimized the RS Q e-tron’s electric drivetrain, high-voltage battery and energy converter for its third Dakar Rally. Though cautious, the team’s three driver pairings of Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist, Stephane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger, and Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz are optimistic about their chances of securing the overall title.

“The Audi RS Q e-tron has already caused quite a stir in its first two Dakar appearances,” said Rolf Michl, Head of Audi Motorsport. “Audi was once again a technological pioneer in its outstanding motorsport history. We have initiated a paradigm shift. The combination of an electric drivetrain and a reFuel-powered energy converter is unique and very efficient. We know what we have already achieved.”

The RS Q e-tron has been using residue-based reFuel since last year’s Dakar Rally, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent.

The new set-up of the RS Q e-tron improves comfort and efficiency. The earlier versions of the car focused on its complex drivetrain technology. This time, numerous aspects of the cockpit were refined, resulting in less noise levels and better protection for the driver and co-driver in terms of hard impacts and extreme loads.

Also upgraded was the electric drivetrain, which relies on a high-voltage battery that draws power from an energy converter. Regulations this year limit the output of the electric drivetrain to 286 kW (388 horsepower), distributed between the front and rear axles. Many other new revisions reduce maintenance times for the team and make the RS Q e-tron safer and more reliable.

Making up this year’s Dakar Rally are 12 special stages to be held over 14 days in Saudi Arabia, covering a race distance of 4,727 kilometers. With “transport” stages included, meaning the sections between one stage to the next, the route distance totals to 7,891 kilometers. The teams often have to complete more than 400 kilometers a day on the special stages.

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