Audi has announced details of its plans to tackle the Dakar Rally with an electric drivetrain in January 2022. The first tests are planned for the middle of this year.
The first prototype for the Dakar Rally is currently being built at Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau. The roll-out is scheduled for the end of June, followed by the world premiere in July. Audi is the first car manufacturer to tackle the famous rally with an electric drivetrain.
The innovative prototype uses the motor generator unit (MGU) from the current Formula E car that Audi developed from scratch for the 2021 season. Three motors will be used.
Audi is also developing the high-voltage battery in-house. In Formula E, this is a spec part from a supplier for all of the teams. The energy for charging the battery is supplied by the four-cylinder TFSI engine.
In November 2020, Audi announced that the Dakar Rally will replace its involvement in Formula E, which will no longer be continued in the form of an Audi factory team after the 2021 season.
Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for all motorsport activities of Audi, says: “With the Dakar project, we at Audi remain true to our philosophy of using new technologies in motorsport for the first time that are groundbreaking for future road cars. In our rally history, for example, this was the quattro drivetrain, and now we will test components for future electric drivetrains under extreme conditions at the Dakar Rally. At the same time, we offer exciting customer and fan experiences.”
Andreas Roos, Dakar Rally Project Manager, adds: “This engine is incredibly efficient and state of the art in terms of weight and consumption. The important thing is: our drivetrain is fully electric. The TFSI engine is only used to charge the batteries on the special stages. The battery has to be charged while driving, as there are currently no other options to do so in the desert.”
Audi plans to run fully electric on all the Rally’s liaison stages.