Taking an important step in the efficiency and competitiveness of e-mobility in motor sports with the Audi RS Q e-tron, which took its first start at the Dakar Rally last year, Audi is preparing to take a new step.
This year, the brand is competing with an innovative fuel for the first time with three electric drive and energy converter desert prototypes that will compete in the Dakar Rally, which will be held between 31 December 2022 and 15 January 2023. Following a consistent strategy for decarbonisation, Audi is adding a complementary innovation to its pioneering technologies such as electric cars and renewable electricity: renewable fuels that allow internal combustion engines to run in a more climate-friendly way.
The Audi RS Q e-tron models, which made their debut at the Dakar Rally last year, one of the toughest testing grounds for electric powered vehicles, combine both systems with an innovative drive. Audi will also use residue-based fuel in its three models to compete this year to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
A process that converts biomass to ethanol in the first step results in a subsequent conversion from ethanol to gasoline (ETG). Audi engineers use biogenic plant parts as a starting product.
The fuel tank of the RS Q e-tron contains 80 percent sustainable components, including ETG and e-methanol. The fuel required for the energy converter, which energizes the electric drive, is used in principle much less in the current drive concept than in current conventional systems, and there is more optimisation. This fuel mixture saves the Audi RS Q e-tron by more than 60 percent in carbon dioxide emissions.
The development carried out by Audi also complies with the FIA and ASO fuel regulations, which are similar to the regulations for 102 octane fuels available on the market. With this innovative fuel, the internal combustion engine achieves slightly higher efficiency than fossil-based gasoline. However, since the oxygen content in reFuel reduces the energy density of the fuel, the volumetric calorific value decreases. For this reason, a larger tank volume is used in the RS Q e-tron. This does not give the vehicle an advantage over its competitors.
The first generation of the RS Q e-tron, which first hit the roads in 2022, was able to complete the rallies held in January and March with high energy efficiency thanks to the electric drive with energy converter. These results also support that a significantly improved CO2 balance can be achieved by using renewable fuels in HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) models such as the RS Q e-tron.
Audi aims to complete the world's toughest races with 100 percent renewable fuel in the future. Successfully transferring technology between motor sports and mass production models for more than forty years, Audi continues to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases for vehicles with internal combustion engines and hybrid drives with this new technology.