Victory of Stage 3 of Dakar 2022 marks the first time a hybrid vehicle has triumphed at the legendary rally.
The 2022 Dakar Rally hasn’t gone exactly as planned for Audi Sport. But while the race is only about half over, the team has already made history. Because four days into the race, driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz brought their RS Q e-tron in ahead of all the competition. That marked the first time that a hybrid-electric car has won a stage during the legendarily grueling test of man and machine. Make no mistake — this isn’t just a watershed moment for Audi, or the Dakar, but the world of racing as a whole.
To be clear, the RS Q e-tron isn’t a fully electric vehicle, as it features a small internal combustion motor to charge the batteries when plugging in would prove impossible. That said, given the resources that Audi is dedicating toward electric development, and the pace at which battery technology is developing, an all-electric Dakar rig might not be all that far off. So don’t be surprised if you see Dakar veteran and Audi partner Ken Block behind the wheel of a green machine in the next few years.
Unfortunately, an overall victory in 2022 isn’t in the cards. On the first stage, Audi driver and 14-time Dakar champ Stéphane Peterhansel hit a rock which took out not only one of his wheels, but a decent chuck of the rear suspension. While that’s the kind of thing that can happen when you’re racing for 5,000 miles through the desert, the time spent sitting on the trail means the time off the lead will be all but impossible to overcome.
More frustrating than the crash, however, was a confusing roadbook that left his teammates Sainz and Cruz lost for a whopping two hours. In fairness, they weren’t the only car that wound up off the course, but since Audi declined to file a grievance with race control, the standings will reflect the unfortunate detour. That said? While it would have been amazing to win overall on the e-tron’s first effort, it was always a longshot, and Audi will undoubtedly learn plenty about its innovative powertrain over the course of the race.
This reimagined version of the quattro S1 isn’t just the star of the forthcoming Elektrikhana video — it also meets FIA safety standards.
When Ken Block and Audi announced a partnership to develop electric vehicles back in September, there weren’t a lot of details on what to expect. But as I wrote at the time, anyone with a wisp of automotive awareness and more than two brain cells to rub together could predict the endeavor would produce some killer videos. That speculation, as un-wild as it might have been, was confirmed roughly a week later, when Block teased Electrickhana, a electrified version of his internet-breaking Gymkhana videos.
Now, we’ve gotten a look at the hero car — and it’s reimagined version of the legendary Audi Sport quattro S1. Dubbed the Hooniteron, this beast will sport a carbon fiber chassis, an electric motor at each axel, and lust-inspiring bodywork that looks at once both evolutionary and futuristic. The name is a mash-up of Hoonigan and e-tron, and as Audi design chief Marc Lichte describes, “the project was about about creating a modern, all-electric interpretation of the S1 Pikes Peak.”
If that doesn’t sound challenging enough? There was almost no time allotted to get it done. “While our design process normally takes one to one-and-a-half years, we only had four weeks from the first drawing to the final design,” said Lichte.
At this point, there aren’t a lot of details on the performance metrics, but according to the press release, the Hoonitron meets FIA safety standards, and is described as having “power galore.” Fortunately, Block was able to translate what that intriguing bit of info about the thrust level means when you’re behind the wheel:
Audi gave me the opportunity to test it for a few days in Germany. I’m familiar with a wide variety of cars using internal combustion engines and transmissions, but there were a lot of new things for me to learn here. Spinning into a donut at 150 km/h directly from standstill — just using my right foot — is an all-new experience for me. Our work was focused on getting the car and I used to each other.
How long it took Hoonigan-in-Chief Block to adapt to the instant torque of the electric powertrain is something we’ll likely learn in the future. In the meantime, the announcement says that fans can expect to see the new Elektrikhana video “shortly,” and released a teaser video to whet our appetites. Personally, I’m thrilled that this machine is up to snuff for the FIA, as after Block uses it to make the donuts, it’d be amazing to see it tackle Pikes Peak. Since the electric powertrain is immune to the challenges of high elevation hooning, it sure would prove advantageous in a record run…
The follow up to the e-tron will arrive in 2026, and be a larger SUV which will replace the current Audi Q8.
Audi’s facility in Brussels, Belgium will produce the successor to the current e-tron, the company has confirmed. The Audi Forest plant recently celebrated the production of its eight millionth vehicle, and this news means the workforce there will still have a mission after production of the e-tron, which is due for a refresh in 2023, concludes in 2026. In a statement reported by Belgium’s RTL Info, Audi AG Board of Directors Chair Markus Duesmann revealed that the replacement for the e-tron will be the Q8 e-tron:
The future will be electric. Our factory in Forest is carbon neutral. And when we deliver a new vehicle, it is with a ‘zero emissions’ perspective. Based on this experience, the next car produced here will be the Audi Q8 e-tron, the electric successor to the current e-tron. This choice can be explained by the current success.
That news means that the current generation of the Q8 will be the last with internal combustion engines, as Audi previously announced that all of its new vehicles will be all-electric starting in 2026. Along with the standard body style, it’s expected that there will be also be Q8 Sportback e-tron, and fans of high performance SUVs will likely get an RS-like version as well. With legendary rally driver and gymkhana master Ken Block on board to aid in electric vehicle development, it’s unlikely that any of the new green machines will be boring.
Given the rapidly approaching deadline for the end of gas and diesel powertrains, we’re likely to see a lot of news about electric vehicles coming out of Ingolstadt in the coming months, especially since there are reportedly 20 new machines on the horizon. That said, fans of luxury longroofs are likely most excited about the possibility of an RS6 Avant e-tron. Because while the current gas-powered version is a weapons-grade piece of kit, we’ve already seen how it performs against Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S, and it’s unlikely that engineers will step backward for the next generation. Stay tuned for more news about Audi’s electric future when we have it!
Audi’s AI:ME concept would make a perfect platform for a new A2, and could be a gateway to electric luxury.
The future of automobiles is electric — an Audi is quite clearly leaning into the shift. The e-tron GT is a stunning example of electric luxury, the RS Q e-tron is set to take on the Dakar Rally, and Ingolstadt even recruited Ken Block to help with EV development. But since all new Audi vehicles are set to be electric starting in 2026, there are still loads more green machines on the way, and Germany’s Auto Bild magazine is reporting that we just might see an all-new version of the A2.
At this point, there’s been no confirmation of such plans, though if you stop to consider it, the idea makes a lot of sense. Because while we all know luxury cars and SUVs are the industry’s cash cows, plenty of upscale buyers in urban markets — where electric vehicles currently make the most sense — are looking for something easy to pilot on tight city streets. So an electric hatchback with a small footprint could be ideal. That said, for said car to really resonate, it would have to look the business.
That’s where the AI:ME concept comes into play. When it debuted back in 2019, it was billed as a design study, and a platform for the automated driving technology of the future. Now, regardless of what folks like Elon Musk would like folks to believe, full-on autonomous driving is still a ways off. But there’s no reason that Audi couldn’t turn this concept into reality, and position it toward the bottom of the lineup. In that respect, it could serve as kind of a gateway drug for luxurious electric cars.
For the record, I don’t think range would be terribly important here. In that respect, I agree with Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, who believes that in the future, the range of electric cars will go down, as many people — particularly those in urban centers — come to grips with how little they actually drive. So presence, posh cabins, and great tech would be the most important features for a city car. And honestly, given the increasing attention people of all stripes are paying to climate change, I think we’re overdue for a backlash against massive SUVs. So stay tuned for news on a possible new Audi A2!
Let’s face it: no one is immune to the passage of time. We all need to go someplace, at some point, most of the week, whether it’s getting to work, dropping the kids off at school, shopping, or running errands, and we all need a dependable means to bring about.
That is why having a car is such a valuable tool for both busy families and individuals. Cars are an essential investment for a rising number of individuals worldwide due to the ease and freedom that comes with having one.
However, as global warming tendencies continue to climb, people are becoming increasingly ecologically sensitive. That is why, to keep their families moving in the future, automobile purchasers are looking to replace their traditional gas-guzzling SUVs with electric SUVs and other electric or hybrid car types.
Coming up are a few things you should know about electric automobiles in this handy post before you go out and buy one.
Electric vehicles are inexpensive to operate.
While an electric automobile may cost a little more than a car that runs on gasoline or diesel upfront, the cost savings over time are pretty amazing.
This is because electric automobiles do not require gasoline to operate. They are instead powered by electricity. Even while you still have to pay for the power needed to charge these automobiles, the expenses are far cheaper than filling a full tank of gasoline or diesel every week.
With an electric vehicle, you’ll notice a significant rise in the weight of your wallet or purse – this is, of course, all the savings you’ll get when switching from a combustion engine to an electric motor.
Electric vehicles are low-maintenance vehicles.
Electric automobiles, believe it or not, do not require oil to lubricate the moving components of their engines since their battery-powered motors have a fraction of the moving parts that a combustion engine requires to operate smoothly. When compared to combustion engines, this means that EVs require minor servicing and maintenance. One of the main reasons many people believe combustion engines will be phased out is their improved lifetime.
Whereas a fuel automobile needs maintenance every six months, electric vehicles only require it once a year or so and merely examine the brakes, tires, and other components. This implies that, in addition to being low-maintenance, EVs also save money on maintenance.
Road trips will necessitate more planning ahead of time.
Unlike gasoline cars, a charging station will not be available at every service station or roadside group of businesses. Time most electric vehicles can go hundreds of kilometers between charges, they will need to be recharged after a while on the road.
This isn’t to say you can’t go on a road trip in an electric vehicle; it simply means you’ll need to plan to guarantee you have access to charging stations along the way. Take your time and do proper research before the road trip, just like when betting with NetBet you need to be cautious to avoid frustrations. While EVs will become more common in the future, for the time being, a road trip in one demands little foresight and planning.
As a result, your vacation options may be limited, at least for the time being. On the other hand, charging stations are more expected to become as prevalent as standard gas stations shortly.
Electric vehicles are available in a variety of models and sizes.
Contrary to common assumptions, electric vehicles are available in almost as many types and sizes as conventional vehicles, allowing you to pick between a hatchback, a sedan, or SUV. Tesla is also working on an electric utility vehicle called the Cybertruck.
As electric vehicles become more popular, automakers will adjust their designs and technologies, creating a growing number of EV models, including bigger SUVs and potentially trucks.
In this informative blog, you have seen a few things you should know about electric automobiles. It’s easy to understand why EVs are often regarded as the cars of the future, with cheap maintenance expenses, lower operating costs, and zero emissions.
You have also seen how to prepare for road trips and listed which EV models and sizes are now available if you want to make the switch from a combustion engine to an electric motor right now.