Audi ran three ridiculously difficult and funky hybrid electrical automobiles on the Dakar Rally this 12 months, and after 13 days of racing, the German automaker has loads to crow about.
When it comes to stage wins, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz within the No. 202 automotive got here out on high, with two first- and second-place finishes, in addition to three third-place finishes. Stéphane “Mr. Dakar” Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger within the No. 200 automotive earned themselves one first- and one third-place stage end and two second locations. Rounding out the Audi workforce are Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist within the No. 224 automotive with one first, second and third end.
Nonetheless, when the mud settled, Ekström and Bergkvist proved to be probably the most constant, incomes a ninth-place end general with a time of 41 hours, quarter-hour, 14 seconds, about 2 hours, 42 minutes behind general winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel. Sainz and Cruz got here in twelfth place general with a time of 42 hours, 12 minutes, 24 seconds. Peterhansel and Boulanger got here in a disappointing 57th place with a time of 106 hours, 45 minutes, 16 seconds. The duo had a devastating begin to the rally once 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 simply because it did in 1981 when it launched its Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Nonetheless, the corporate is aware of present battery expertise simply cannot compete in a long-stage, multiday rally just like the Dakar. The vary simply is not there. So the automotive’s 52-kilowatt-hour battery is charged on the go by a gas-powered 2.0-liter I4 turbocharged engine. Coupled to that engine is a motor-generator unit that feeds the battery. Two different motor-generator items drive the entrance and rear wheels. On this means, the battery can present sufficient energy for the levels with out stopping for a recharge — a few of them are so long as 500 miles.
The vehicles left every morning with a full cost, however protecting the battery from depleting shortly may be difficult. A lot of the Dakar rally is spent navigating the dunes, which does a quantity on vary. The sand supplies resistance as do low tire pressures. Per the Dakar guidelines, the Audi’s motor-generator items on the axles have to be restricted to a complete of 288 kilowatts of energy, or 386 horsepower, and the vitality converter can solely provide 220 kW of energy. Whereas Audi didn’t count on to all the time be utilizing extra energy than the automotive is producing, there have been moments the place groups noticed vary drop precipitously. Nonetheless, an advanced set of algorithms and engineering magic saved the battery inside a specified state of cost.
Audi hasn’t launched any torque numbers for its hybrid race automotive, however the RS Q E-Tron can reportedly speed up from 0 to 60 mph on a unfastened floor in lower than 4.5 seconds and its high pace is restricted to 106 mph. The battery provides an additional 816 kilos to the chassis. The automotive additionally has six cooling methods for the 2 electrical motors, battery, vitality converter, gas-powered engine and cabin. There are additionally about 2.5 miles of cables within the automobile, and that does not embody the 800-volt cables for the battery. I don’t envy the Audi techs with this one.
The RS Q E-Tron is a reasonably slick piece of expertise, though it nonetheless burns dinosaurs to make the electrical energy. Positive, all of us need clear energy, nevertheless it’s a sluggish course of to get there.
I’ve campaigned two electrical automobiles in sanctioned motorsports occasions. The Volkswagen charged the in a trailer throughout the on-road transit levels. In each circumstances the ability was offered by a diesel generator, though the charging unit for the Rebelle Rally was capable of run on hydrogen energy and it was solely a logistical drawback that saved it from doing so.required a cost in the midst of day throughout the , however I used to be not rallying for pace, however moderately navigational accuracy. Within the ,
My level right here is that Audi is working with the expertise that’s at the moment out there. It is not ultimate, nevertheless it’s only one step on the street to long-range batteries.
Within the Dakar Rally, groups are up towards many new challenges, not simply driving an experimental automobile. Roadbooks got out quarter-hour earlier than the beginning of the day’s stage. In earlier years co-drivers acquired their books the evening earlier than, permitting for overview and notes.
Additional, the roadbooks this 12 months have been digital. Co-drivers had two screens in entrance of them. The left confirmed very crude drawings of the terrain and the best way via. For instance, there could also be rocks on one aspect of the observe represented by irregular circles and a constructing on the opposite, represented by a rectangle. In actuality the rocks may very well be any dimension and the constructing may very well be a shack. If this display screen failed, co-drivers had a sealed paper roadbook as a backup. On the right-hand display screen navigators might see their directional heading and a validation when the digital waypoint was reached.
That is Audi’s first time competing within the Dakar rally, though it is no stranger to electrified racing. The corporate received the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 with an electrified drivetrain within the R18 E-Tron Quattro and profitable seasons in System E in 2017 and 2018. In truth, the motor-generator items on the Dakar automobile are lifted from the present Audi E-Tron FE07 System E automotive — with some slight modifications.