The high-voltage battery is located centrally in the drive and literally in the middle of the Audi RS Q e-tron. It embodies the heart of the innovative electric drive with energy converter. Audi intends to use it to set the next milestone in the world’s toughest rally and prove “Vorsprung durch Technik” in the desert as well.

“With our drive configuration in the RS Q e-tron, Audi is a pioneer in the Dakar Rally,” says Lukas Folie, the high-voltage battery engineer. “Defining the challenges for this type of competition was very demanding. There are simply no empirical values in motorsport for such a concept and for this type of endurance competition.”

Design for unknown requirements

Compared to the Formula E World Championship, which Audi last contested with a battery-electric drive, the standards at the Dakar Rally are different: daily stages of many hundreds of kilometers, the enormous driving resistance in the soft desert sand, plus high outside temperatures and a minimum vehicle weight set by the regulations at two tons are extreme values in motorsport. “It is not possible with today’s battery technology to realize an all-electric BEV off-road vehicle for the Dakar Rally under these conditions,” says Lukas Folie. The engineering team led by Axel Löffler, Chief Designer of the RS Q e-tron, therefore had to define basic benchmarks for the overall concept of the vehicle with electric drive and energy converter without any previous empirical values. Due to the short project development time, Audi relied on proven cell technology. The capacity of the high-voltage battery is 52 kWh and is therefore sufficient for the maximum expected requirements on each leg of the rally. The weight of the high-voltage battery including the cooling medium is around 370 kilograms.