Audi teases new electric off-road prototype to compete in the Dakar Rally

Audi is returning to rally racing and doing it with an electric vehicle.

The German automaker teased the new electric off-road prototype, which will first compete in the Dakar Rally in 2022.

A while ago, Audi had a lot of success on the rally circuit with the infamous Group B rally cars, the Audi Sport Quattro S1.

More recently, the automaker has stayed away from the sports and started investing more in electric motorsports, like its presence in Formula E.

Since 2017, Audi has shown interest in potential electric rally competitions, and now, we learned that the automaker decided to pull the trigger.

Audi announced that it will be competing with an electric vehicle in the Dakar Rally in 2022:

“Audi is facing one of the greatest challenges in motorsport: The brand with the four rings will be competing in the famous Dakar Rally for the first time in 2022 with an innovative prototype. The alternative drive concept combines an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter for the first time. Cross-country rallying will be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment in the future.”

Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Technical Development and Product Lines at AUDI AG, commented:

“Formula E has accompanied the transformation phase at Audi. Today, electromobility at the four rings is no longer a dream of the future, but the present.” The Audi e-tron is a bestseller in many markets. With the RS e-tron GT, Audi will soon bring its sporty spearhead onto the road. And as early as 2025, around 40 percent of sales are expected to be achieved with purely-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. “This is why we are taking the next step in electrified motorsport by facing the most extreme conditions. The many technical freedoms offered by the Dakar Rally provide a perfect test laboratory for us in this respect.”

With the announcement, the automaker released a teaser image of the electric vehicle it plans to use to compete at the rally:

Teaser Dakar 2022

While the main source of energy is going to be a battery pack, the automaker says that it will also rely on “highly efficient TFSI engine” as a generator:

“With the use of an alternative drive concept in the Dakar Rally, Audi is now facing up to the most extreme conditions. The vehicle will be driven by a powerful electric drivetrain. The energy required for this comes from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged as required while driving via an energy converter in the form of a highly efficient TFSI engine. The aim is to permanently improve the performance of the electric drivetrain and the battery in the years to come. The experience gained in this process should then be incorporated into the further development of future electrified production models.”

The company also confirmed that the Dakar Rally will “replace Audi’s factory involvement in Formula E.”

It will not be the first time that electric vehicles have competed in the Dakar Rally.

Back in 2017, Acciona’s electric vehicle prototype became the first electric vehicle to complete the rally.

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