Audi RS Q e-tron, aboard the electric car that passed the dunes of Dakar-Corriere.it

From a dream to a Dakar star in less than two years. Audi with the RS Q e-tron has decided to challenge each other from every point of view: Debut in African marathons in anticipation of the future of competitions with a fully electric car. We went up and we tell about the feelings

First of all, we need to tell the story. It all started from a blank sheet of paper with a very clear idea of ​​not being content with a simple participation in one of the most technically exhausting races in the world; and Audi did so by choosing the less simple path: electrification, realizing that the biggest problem one faces is recharging the batteries.
Audi technicians then started the first simulations on computers to transform the dream in a four-wheel drive reality that could tackle steep dunes, long dirt roads and monstrous operating temperatures. All this for an infinite number of kilometers. After exactly one year The RS Q e-tron is taking its first stepsto be precise, only 3 meters, crucial to understand whether all elements – more than 80 sensors scattered throughout the car – the engines and controllers were able to communicate properly without coming into conflict.

Formula E derivation

To move the desert monster, there are three electrical units – driveline of asphalt drainage – combined with a two-liter turbo gasoline combustion engine engaged until 2020 in the DTM championship: The purpose of the latter is clear, a big breath of oxygen / kW destined for the accumulators, because the four-cylinder does not push, but delivers energy like a generator. Each axle has its own electrical unit, and therefore four-wheel drive – Audi’s pride – is guaranteed, with the third element responsible for recharging the accumulators when the accelerator is released and when braking. The engine brigade guarantees a maximum power of 392 horsepower – a value imposed by the race rules – and allows a zero percent of 4.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 170 km / h for the desert spacecraft, which weighs 2,370 kg of fossil fuel in part

Step by step

After defining the technique and aware of the limited time available to arrive prepared for this year’s Dakar, the tests intensified under extreme conditions between the gravel roads of southern Spain up to the indispensable and exhausting long runs in Morocco, basically to decide the setup of the suspensions, resistance to stress and security of autonomy that are crucial to complete the individual steps.
The great producers do not face new challenges with the spirit of De Coubertin, but with the clear intention of winning or at least putting a seal that remains in eternal memory. Audi therefore participated in Dakar by selecting two top-level teams with the intention of bringing home more than a simple participation led by Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekstrm: very heavy names in Motosport, where the Spaniard already wins 3 Dakars.

8,099 kilometers later …

This is the race distance in the 2022 edition that served the Audi squadron to score two important stage victories and related records: Never before has an electric car dominated a stage in such hostile terrain. Now the theme shifts to the future intended as participation in the next Dakarian adventure and the application of the technology developed during the race and applicable tomorrow in other competitions and on everyday cars.

A taste of the future aboard the RS-Q e-tron

time to put on the racing suit for a ride as a passenger with Emil Bergkvist – Ekstrms co-driver and former rally driver. Access to the cabin, in accordance with the safety rules, is complex due to the presence of the roll bar and all the navigation systems that occupy a large part of the cabin. Time to fasten your seatbelts and the RS Q e-tron starts to hiss. A few accelerations and decelerations the pilot uses to calibrate himself before sinking completely on the accelerator and consuming the kW he has available.

Velvet suspension

The evidence space is not the most comfortable. A toboggan of curves and short straight stretches is reminiscent of Dakar’s routes, but able to immediately highlight the dynamic behavior of the German prototype. The load transfer in acceleration provides an extraordinary grip that leads to crumble in a few moments the time that separates one corner from the next; braking relieves the rear end, which with great skill by Emil – and skilled features of the electro-activated handbrake – draws perfect lanes and crossings. To close the roller coaster experience, we think of a bump we face at just over 100 km / h, projecting us ten meters further from the detachment point accompanied by the dark sound of the four-cylinder petrol DTM, which now, at the request of the pilot, make sure to recharge the accumulators before the next round of the carousel with the lucky one on duty. And there are still those who think that you can not have fun with an electric car …

4 June 2022 (change 4 June 2022 | 10:46)

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