Dakar 2023, this is how the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 overcomes the heat

Dakar 2023, this is how the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 overcomes the heat

An electric car with a journeyman born to run a rally in the desert of Saudi Arabia, which is as innovative as the complex cooling system it is equipped with

Andrea Tartaglia


– Milan

The desert is a hot place that can be hellish when you’re stuck in a busy racing car on the hot sand. And it’s not just a problem with the temperature of the passenger compartment, you have to avoid burning the engine and if it’s an electric car you have to keep the battery at normal operating temperature. In the case of an electric car with a range extension, such as the Audi RS Q e-tron E2, it is necessary to control the temperature of the passenger compartment, of the two electric motors, the battery, the heat engine and the heat engine. of complex management systems. It is not an easy task for those who have to run a long and difficult race like the Dakar, scheduled from 31 December 2022 to 15 January 2023 in Saudi Arabia, but the Audi Sport team appreciated its participation in the 2022 edition and further improved its cars with the E2 upgrade that you have greatly improved performance and efficiency. Autumn tests and participation in the Moroccan rally at the beginning of October confirmed the progress.


At the heart of the RS Q e-tron E2 is the high-voltage battery that powers the motors. In conventional electric cars, the accumulator is air-conditioned to operate at the right temperature, the most important condition when the battery has to supply power for desert racing. Audi relies on a non-conductive Novec cooler, also known as “dry water”, whose diameter is located under the front hood. Like batteries, the temperature must also be controlled for electric motors. Of the three MGUs, two are located on the respective axles and take care of traction, while the third acts as a generator to recover energy sent to the battery. They are connected through a low temperature circuit, which is used by a special radiator also located in the engine compartment.


If the battery is part of the low temperature storage in the desert, a few more degrees are allowed for the climate control of the passenger compartment and for the cooling of the oil necessary for the driving operation, which is especially emphasized in the long road. driving a car. Next to the radiator responsible for the cooling system of the three MGU is the one used to keep the temperature of the management instruments, similar to those used by the jacks to lift the car in the event of a fire. In parallel, the right front air intake houses the air conditioning condenser.


A challenge that cannot be overcome at the moment is recharging the battery of an electric car participating in a desert rally like the Dakar. The solution adopted by Audi is the TFSI petrol engine that works as a range extender, not connected to the transmission but with the exclusive responsibility of generating energy to be stored and then delivered to the MGUs. Four petrols are derived from those used in the Dtm championship and placed in an inlet behind the passenger compartment. It is used with a special cooling circuit with a hot mixture for the lubricant. The excess heat mixture is used to cool the turbocharger. Both are mounted side by side on the rear axle and take advantage of the incoming air flow from the air intakes on the roof of the car.