With a little more than three months before the start of the Dakar Rally in January, Audi took its RS Q E-Tron to the deserts of Morocco to test the custom-built hybrid ahead of the endurance competition. Over the two weeks that Audi was in the country, it subjected the RS Q E-Tron to temperatures hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and sandstorms. The automaker says it tested the vehicle in Morocco specifically to put it through the most extreme conditions possible. The heat and other factors pushed the RS Q E-Tron’s electric drivetrain and other components to their limit.
“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 factory racing at Audi Sport.
Audi and the Volkswagen Group have a lot riding on the RS Q E-Tron. If it can win the Dakar Rally, it would be the first electrified vehicle to do so. While not a pure EV, it features an electric drivetrain with two modified Formula E motors. An energy conversion system with a TFSI engine charges the car’s high-voltage battery while driving and braking. Volkswagen has already said it expects the RS Q E-Tron will help inform some of its future production cars.