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Audi’s RS Q E-Tron Dakar rally autos consider a number of stage wins in Saudi Arabia

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Audi ran a few ridiculously sophisticated and neat hybrid electric powered cars at the Dakar Rally this 12 months, and following 13 days of racing, the German automaker has a good deal to crow about.

In terms of stage wins, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in the No. 202 car arrived out on prime, with two initial- and second-position finishes, as perfectly as 3 3rd-location finishes. Stéphane “Mr. Dakar” Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger in the No. 200 car attained by themselves a person initially- and a person third-position phase end and two 2nd areas. Rounding out the Audi staff are Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist in the No. 224 car or truck with a person initial, next and third end.

Having said that, when the dust settled, Ekström and Bergkvist proved to be the most constant, earning a ninth-location finish all round with a time of 41 hrs, 15 minutes, 14 seconds, about 2 hours, 42 minutes at the rear of over-all winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel. Sainz and Cruz came in 12th spot overall with a time of 42 hrs, 12 minutes, 24 seconds. Peterhansel and Boulanger came in a disappointing 57th position with a time of 106 hours, 45 minutes, 16 seconds. The duo experienced a devastating get started to the rally when they took out the rear end 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 introduced its Quattro all-wheel-generate procedure. Nevertheless, the business understands present battery technological know-how just are not able to compete in a extensive-phase, multiday rally like the Dakar. The assortment just isn’t really there. So the car’s 52-kilowatt-hour battery is billed on the go by a gasoline-driven 2.-liter I4 turbocharged engine. Coupled to that motor is a motor-generator device that feeds the battery. Two other motor-generator models drive the front and rear wheels. In this way, the battery can deliver ample ability for the phases devoid of halting for a recharge — some of them are as long as 500 miles.

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The vehicles still left just about every early morning with a whole demand, but trying to keep the battery from depleting quickly can be challenging. A great deal of the Dakar rally is put in navigating the dunes, which does a number on vary. The sand supplies resistance as do minimal tire pressures. For every the Dakar procedures, the Audi’s motor-generator models on the axles must be restricted to a total of 288 kilowatts of electricity, or 386 horsepower, and the electricity converter can only offer 220 kW of electric power. When Audi did not count on to generally be employing extra ability than the automobile is creating, there have been times exactly where groups observed assortment fall precipitously. However, a intricate set of algorithms and engineering magic stored the battery within just a specified point out of demand. 

Audi hasn’t unveiled any torque quantities for its hybrid race vehicle, but the RS Q E-Tron can reportedly speed up from to 60 mph on a loose area in fewer than 4.5 seconds and its top velocity is limited to 106 mph. The battery provides an more 816 lbs to the chassis. The vehicle also has six cooling techniques for the two electric motors, battery, energy converter, gas-run motor and cabin. There are also about 2.5 miles of cables in the automobile, and that won’t include things like the 800-volt cables for the battery. I do not envy the Audi techs with this 1.

The RS Q E-Tron is a fairly slick piece of technology, though it nonetheless burns dinosaurs to make the electric power. Absolutely sure, we all want thoroughly clean ability, but it’s a sluggish approach to get there.

I’ve campaigned two electrical vehicles in sanctioned motorsports events. The Rivian R1T needed a charge in the center of day all through the Rebelle Rally, but I was not rallying for velocity, but instead navigational accuracy. In the Mexican 1000, Volkswagen charged the ID 4 in a trailer through the on-road transit stages. In equally situations the electric power was furnished by a diesel generator, while the charging device for the Rebelle Rally was in a position to run on hydrogen ability and it was only a logistical difficulty that held it from undertaking so.

My position listed here is that Audi is operating with the technological innovation that is currently readily available. It’s not best, but it can be just a person move on the street to extensive-array batteries.

In the Dakar Rally, teams are up in opposition to lots of new worries, not just driving an experimental car or truck. Roadbooks were presented out 15 minutes in advance of the commence of the day’s stage. In former a long time co-motorists been given their books the night time in advance of, allowing for for assessment and notes.

Further more, the roadbooks this yr had been digital. Co-drivers experienced two screens in entrance of them. The remaining showed quite crude drawings of the terrain and the way by means of. For example, there may perhaps be rocks on one particular facet of the note represented by irregular circles and a building on the other, represented by a rectangle. In truth the rocks could be any sizing and the setting up could be a shack. If this display failed, 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 to start with time competing in the Dakar rally, whilst it can be no stranger to electrified racing. The business gained the 24 Several hours of Le Mans in 2012 with an electrified drivetrain in the R18 E-Tron Quattro and profitable seasons in Components E in 2017 and 2018. In reality, the motor-generator units on the Dakar vehicle are lifted from the current Audi E-Tron FE07 Method E car — with some slight modifications.

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