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

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Audi ran 3 ridiculously challenging and cool hybrid electric vehicles at the Dakar Rally this year, and following 13 times of racing, the German automaker has a great deal to crow about.

In terms of phase wins, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in the No. 202 auto came out on prime, with two initial- and second-position finishes, as properly as a few third-position finishes. Stéphane “Mr. Dakar” Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger in the No. 200 automobile acquired them selves one particular initial- and one particular third-area stage finish and two next places. Rounding out the Audi crew are Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist in the No. 224 auto with a person to start with, 2nd and third end.

However, when the dust settled, Ekström and Bergkvist proved to be the most dependable, earning a ninth-spot complete overall with a time of 41 several hours, 15 minutes, 14 seconds, about 2 hours, 42 minutes at the rear of all round winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel. Sainz and Cruz came in 12th area total with a time of 42 several hours, 12 minutes, 24 seconds. Peterhansel and Boulanger arrived in a disappointing 57th place with a time of 106 hrs, 45 minutes, 16 seconds. The duo experienced a devastating start off to the rally when they took out the rear finish of their RS Q E-Tron racer.

Audi is hoping to revolutionize rallying with the RS Q E-Tron just as it did in 1981 when it released its Quattro all-wheel-travel system. On the other hand, the firm is aware current battery technologies just won’t be able to compete in a extensive-stage, multiday rally like the Dakar. The variety just isn’t there. So the car’s 52-kilowatt-hour battery is charged on the go by a fuel-driven 2.-liter I4 turbocharged motor. Coupled to that motor is a motor-generator device that feeds the battery. Two other motor-generator units push the front and rear wheels. In this way, the battery can supply more than enough electricity for the stages without the need of halting for a recharge — some of them are as extensive as 500 miles.

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The vehicles left each individual early morning with a comprehensive charge, but trying to keep the battery from depleting immediately can be difficult. A lot of the Dakar rally is expended navigating the dunes, which does a variety on array. The sand presents resistance as do small tire pressures. Per the Dakar rules, the Audi’s motor-generator units on the axles ought to be confined to a complete of 288 kilowatts of energy, or 386 horsepower, and the vitality converter can only offer 220 kW of electric power. Although Audi did not hope to constantly be applying more energy than the car is making, there were times where teams saw vary fall precipitously. Having said that, a complex established of algorithms and engineering magic held the battery in just a specified state of cost. 

Audi hasn’t released any torque numbers for its hybrid race car, but the RS Q E-Tron can reportedly accelerate from to 60 mph on a free surface in fewer than 4.5 seconds and its top rated pace is restricted to 106 mph. The battery adds an extra 816 lbs to the chassis. The auto also has six cooling programs for the two electric motors, battery, electricity converter, fuel-powered engine and cabin. There are also about 2.5 miles of cables in the motor vehicle, and that doesn’t involve the 800-volt cables for the battery. I do not envy the Audi techs with this one.

The RS Q E-Tron is a rather slick piece of know-how, although it however burns dinosaurs to make the electrical energy. Absolutely sure, we all want cleanse ability, but it really is a slow approach to get there.

I’ve campaigned two electric automobiles in sanctioned motorsports functions. The Rivian R1T required a cost in the middle of day throughout the Rebelle Rally, but I was not rallying for speed, but somewhat navigational precision. In the Mexican 1000, Volkswagen charged the ID 4 in a trailer throughout the on-road transit levels. In equally cases the electric power was delivered by a diesel generator, even though the charging device for the Rebelle Rally was ready to operate on hydrogen ability and it was only a logistical trouble that held it from executing so.

My level in this article is that Audi is doing work with the know-how that is now obtainable. It really is not suitable, but it is really just a single stage on the highway to very long-variety batteries.

In the Dakar Rally, teams are up in opposition to a lot of new troubles, not just driving an experimental auto. Roadbooks had been given out 15 minutes in advance of the start of the day’s stage. In preceding a long time co-motorists been given their guides the night time ahead of, allowing for overview and notes.

Further more, the roadbooks this yr have been digital. Co-motorists experienced two screens in entrance of them. The still left showed extremely crude drawings of the terrain and the way by. For instance, there could be rocks on one particular side of the observe represented by irregular circles and a setting up on the other, represented by a rectangle. In reality the rocks could be any measurement and the creating could be a shack. If this screen unsuccessful, co-drivers experienced a sealed paper roadbook as a backup. On the right-hand monitor navigators could see their directional heading and a validation when the digital waypoint was attained. 

This is Audi’s very first time competing in the Dakar rally, although it is no stranger to electrified racing. The organization won the 24 Hrs of Le Mans in 2012 with an electrified drivetrain in the R18 E-Tron Quattro and successful seasons in Components E in 2017 and 2018. In point, the motor-generator units on the Dakar automobile are lifted from the existing Audi E-Tron FE07 Method E auto — with some slight modifications.

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