“The Dakar project is a huge challenge for the entire team,” says Andreas Roos. “We have a tight schedule to implement our innovative concept. We are the first car manufacturer to tackle the Dakar Rally with an electric drivetrain. Everyone in the team is working flatout so that we are ready to go in time for the 2022 Dakar.”
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: “We will have one MGU on the front axle and one on the rear axle. A third MGU serves as a generator to charge the high-voltage battery while driving,” says Roos. “Of course, we have to make modifications, because the desert has different challenges than in the cities where we are currently racing in Formula E: jumps, sand, the very long stages. But we can basically build on the expertise from Formula E and also from our Le Mans prototypes with the e-tron quattro.” 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 from the DTM. “This engine is incredibly efficient and state of the art in terms of weight and consumption,” says Andreas Roos. “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 liaison stages.