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“Electric mobility is the future”

Ken Block is a professional rally driver and an Internet superstar. At the Audi Sport home base, he took the Audi RS e-tron GT for a spin. We talked to him about electric mobility, progress and what he is up to with Audi.

09/21/2021 Text: Patrick Morda and Nadia Riaz-Ahmed –  Photo: Julian Rausche –  Film: AUDI AG Reading Time: 5 min

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Ken Block stands with his back to the camera in front of two Audi models.
The past and the future: Rally sensation Ken Block gets up close and personal with the legendary Audi quattro S1 E2 and the fully electric Audi RS e-tron GT at Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau in Germany.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Ken, many people think of you as a petrol head. Now you had the opportunity to drive the fully electric Audi RS e-tron GT. What was going through your mind when you got into the car?

The Audi RS e-tron GT really surprised me. Obviously, Audi has created an exquisite design with careful attention to detail on all the finishes. That makes it an absolutely beautiful car. And once you get into the car and drive it, the experience is truly amazing. It’s exceedingly fast, handles very well and the center of gravity is very low so you can change direction very quickly. I really enjoyed my time with the Audi RS e-tron GT.

 

What do you think about electric cars in general?

I embrace technology and anything that improves our future. I see the electric car as a leap forward for us as a society because it not only partially reduces emissions but also delivers high functionality and performance. I used to drive a truck but I’m looking forward to having an electric car. Electric mobility is the future. It’s really an evolution in the way we humans move around in the world. I’m fascinated by cars like the Audi RS e-tron GT, which boasts not only an absolutely beautiful design but also a lot of performance.

 

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

“If I can drive fast and have fun with it - I’m in.”

Ken Block

What is the key to performance for a professional racing driver like yourself?

When it comes to racing, there’s one thing you should know about me: I want to get around the track fast! To do that, I need more than just a powerplant - whether it’s a combustion engine or electric motor. I also need a high-performance chassis and well-tuned tires. It’s a total package for me. I want what gets me around a track or onto a podium without stinting on speed or fun. I really embrace the idea of tomorrow’s electric motors giving me everything that I enjoy in rallycross, rallying, gymkhana and even off-road racing. If I can drive fast and have fun with it, I’m in.

 

Would you miss the sound of a combustion engine?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of combustion engines, especially the five-cylinder that Audi is so famous for. That’s what I grew up with. Even so, I welcome change and whatever might make me go faster. Of course, I’ll miss the sound of the engine, but there are other ways to enjoy new technology and its sounds. The view that combustion engines are the answer because something would be missing without that growl is wrong. I have kids who haven’t grown up with those sounds for the past thirty or fifty years as I have and don’t care about them. They’re used to the idea that there are combustion engines and electric motors, each with their own sounds. To them, both are cool. We older people need to change our attitude and learn that the lack of a sound can also be very cool.

“Electrifying cars is the next step.”

Ken Block

Speaking of your needs as a driver, how does the e-drive compare to a conventional one?

I have been driving cars with combustion engines and gearboxes for so long. All that is now changing because of electric motors. Not only can you program new settings differently but you don’t even need a gearbox for many electric race cars anymore. I’m excited about the benefits that these new approaches to racetrack technology and engineering will bring. Having seen and been involved in the development of some of the advances, I’m looking forward to continuing with the process and seeing how far we can push things. Moving forward, I’m always looking for better ways to do things. And electrifying cars is the next step - it takes the thrill of driving or racing that I love and makes it more technologically advanced.

A full-length image of black the Audi RS e-tron GT with Ken Block sitting in it.
Ken Block is looking forward to exploring electric cars with Audi.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

“We want to showcase mobility and electrification in entertaining ways.”

Ken Block

Without giving away too much at this point, what can we expect from you and Audi in the future?

By testing electric cars in different contexts, we want to showcase mobility and electrification in new and entertaining ways. Audi has done an incredible job of driving their vehicles into the future. Hopefully, I can pick up on that and have a lot of fun with it at the same time. Audi technology has always had a huge impact on me. In the 1980s, the brand used to dominate one of my all-time favorite sports events - the World Rally Championship - in a way that truly inspired me. Over the years, I’ve always had a real fan’s appreciation for what Audi achieved in racing way back when, right up to modern-day motorsport. I have always been very impressed with their progressiveness and the fact that they are constantly looking ahead.

 

You mentioned progressiveness. How can electromobility be a part of it?

In my opinion, being progressive always means “moving forward” - whether through development, technique or technology - and trying to make things better for people and society. Progress in the automotive world is always about developing better solutions for racing cars, day-to-day drivers, technology and more. Humanity has been around for thousands of years and I hope we never stop progressing. I feel like it’s our job to try and help advance society - especially in terms of mobility - so that we can achieve our goals.

Welcoming a new member to the Audi team: Ken Block

A zoom shot of the Audi RS e-tron GT where Ken Block is sitting in it, looking out of the window.

Experience the Audi RS e-tron GT in your country

The all-electric Audi RS e-tron GT heralds a new era for Audi. Learn more about this supercar’s powerful performance.

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Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi RS e-tron GT is a production vehicle that is not designed or suitable for use on the racetrack or in a rally.