The new Audi RS Q e-tron electric vehicle (EV), which will debut at the Dakar Rally in January 2022, has just completed part of its hot weather testing. The RS Q e-tron completed an eight-day endurance test in sweltering conditions in Spain on gravel sections similar to those used in cross-country rallies.
Following its rollout in Neuburg an der Donau back in June and testing in Magdeburg in mid-July, this is the first test drive in realistic conditions. This latest testing took place near the Spanish city of Zaragoza.
All three of Audi Sport’s driver teams took part in the test in Aragon. Dakar record winner Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Edouard Boulanger drove the first stint from Friday to Sunday. Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist took over the Audi RS Q e-tron on Monday for the next two test days. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz concluded the intensive trials from Wednesday to Friday.
The three driver teams were impressed with the handling and reliability of the futuristic electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) on the fast gravel sections.
Carlos Sainz, Audi Sport driver, said: “For a first test in proper conditions for the car I’m really happy how the car behaves already. I had a really good feeling straight away. Of course, there is fine-tuning to be done but the starting point is good.”
While driving on the 10.5-mile (17km) long gravel sections, the Audi RS Q e-tron achieved a top speed of 112mph (180kph). During testing, it covered over 1,000 miles (1,609km) in temperatures that hit 34°C in the shade, marking an initial litmus test for the cooling system on this complex vehicle.
Arnau Niubó Bosch, Audi development engineer, said: “This test was focused on getting in as much driving as possible and detecting weak spots. The next test in September will take us into the dunes for the first time.”
The Audi RS Q e-tron uses an all-electric powertrain with two motor-generator units (MGU) from Formula E. The high-voltage battery, which has been developed by Audi Sport, is recharged while driving via an energy converter consisting of the efficient TFSI engine from the DTM and another MGU.