Audi released its E-Tron GT electric car in the United States earlier this year, but that’s not where the fun ends. The company has several trim levels of the EV, including an epic offroad-friendly Audi RS Q E-Tron hybrid, which it’s taking to the Dakar Rally event in a few months. Ahead of the event, Audi took its offroader to the deserts of Morocco for the ultimate endurance test.
For those aware, the Dakar Rally is a gnarly offroad race or “rally” that’s open to amateur and professional entries, where drivers compete in some of the harshest conditions around. The 2022 Dakar Rally takes place during the first two weeks of January 2022 in Saudi Arabia.
Audi and Volkswagen Group sent it to the hot, brutal, intense deserts in Morocco to test the custom-built but awfully named RS Q E-Tron hybrid. As you can see, some of the photos of the vehicle and conditions are pretty impressive.
The team subjected the hybrid EV vehicle to high temps exceeding 100-degrees Fahrenheit, sandstorms, and rough terrain. The goal here is to push the car, its battery, and the entire drivetrain to the limit. Then, find and fix any weaknesses as prepares for the rally early next year.
“The insights we gained in Morocco are invaluable, but they also show us that we still have a lot to do before the Dakar Rally, and there is not much time left,” said Andreas Roos, project manager of racing at Audi Sport.
Obviously, a win in any intense rally is a big deal. But for Audi and Volkswagen, it would be a huge deal, as this would be the first electric vehicle to win the Dakar Rally. While the RS Q E-Tron isn’t a proper electric vehicle, it does feature two impressive Formula E motors and a fully electric drivetrain.
The company hopes the knowledge gained, win or lose, will help push production and innovation forward.