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Audi off-road hybrid completes endurance test ahead of Dakar rally

Audi is hard at work preparing the RS Q E-Tron for the 2022 Dakar Rally in the hopes that it will be the first electrified car to win the grueling competition. In fact, the car has just completed an eight-day endurance test near the Spanish city of Zaragoza. Volkswagen’s subsidiary tested the SUV on a dirt road back in July. But this was the first time a car had tested its strength in real-world conditions that it must face during one of the toughest rallies in the world.

The event brought together three teams of two riders each, dividing eight days and 1,056 miles of intensive tests. On gravel roads up to 11 miles, the RS Q E-Tron hit 112 mph. Drivers admitted there was still work to be done, but they were impressed with the car’s performance. Arnau Niubo Bosch, development engineer for Audi, explained that the test “was aimed at driving as much as possible and identifying weaknesses.” For the next SUV test in September, Audi will drive it across the dunes for the first time.

As we mentioned earlier, the RS Q E-Tron has an electric powertrain with two modified Formula E engines. It has an energy converter with a TFSI engine to charge the battery while driving and braking, as there are no charging stations in the middle of a rally. This means it is not a zero-emission vehicle, although Audi claims the converter is energy efficient.

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