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

It completed an eight-day test in realistic conditions in Spain.

Audi Communications Motorsport

Audi is hard at work preparing the RS Q E-Tron for the 2022 Dakar Rally in hopes that it can earn the distinction of being the first electrified vehicle to win the grueling competition. In fact, the vehicle has just completed an eight-day endurance test near the Spanish city of Zaragoza. The Volkswagen subsidiary tested the off-road SUV on unpaved ground back in July. But this was the first time it put the vehicle through its paces in actual conditions it's expected to encounter during one of the toughest rallies in the world.

Three teams with two drivers each participated in the event, dividing the eight days and 1,056 miles of intensive testing between them. On the gravel roads that stretched for up to 11 miles, the RS Q E-Tron reached a speed of 112 mph. The drivers admitted that there's still some fine-tuning to be done, but they were impressed with the vehicle's performance. Arnau Niubó Bosch, Audi's development engineer, explained that the test "was focused on getting in as much driving as possible and detecting weak spots." For the SUV's next test in September, Audi will take it into the dunes for the first time.

As we previously mentioned, the RS Q E-Tron has an electric drivetrain with two modified Formula E motors. It has an energy converter with a TFSI engine to charge its battery while driving and braking, since one wouldn't find charging stations in the middle of a rally. That means it's not a zero-emissions vehicle, though Audi says the converter is energy efficient.