Audi teased its new electric off-road prototype while confirming its intention to return to World Endurance Championship circuit racing. The German automaker will first use the new off-road EV to compete in the Dakar Rally in 2022.
According the company, it will be competing in the Dakar Rally in 2022 using an electric vehicle: “Audi is facing one of the greatest challenges in motorsport: The brand with the four rings will be competing in the famous Dakar Rally for the first time in 2022 with an innovative prototype. The alternative drive concept combines an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter for the first time. Cross-country rallying will be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment in the future.”
Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Technical Development and Product Lines at AUDI AG, Markus Duesmann said about the announcement: “Formula E has accompanied the transformation phase at Audi. Today, electromobility at the four rings is no longer a dream of the future, but the present.” The Audi e-tron is a bestseller in many markets. With the RS e-tron GT, Audi will soon bring its sporty spearhead onto the road. And as early as 2025, around 40 percent of sales are expected to be achieved with purely-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. “This is why we are taking the next step in electrified motorsport by facing the most extreme conditions. The many technical freedoms offered by the Dakar Rally provide a perfect test laboratory for us in this respect.”
According to the automaker, the new EV will rely on “highly efficient TFSI engine” as a generator along as well as a battery pack as a source of energy: “With the use of an alternative drive concept in the Dakar Rally, Audi is now facing up to the most extreme conditions. The vehicle will be driven by a powerful electric drivetrain. The energy required for this comes from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged as required while driving via an energy converter in the form of a highly efficient TFSI engine. The aim is to permanently improve the performance of the electric drivetrain and the battery in the years to come. The experience gained in this process should then be incorporated into the further development of future electrified production models.”