Audi e-tron owners can get a high-speed charge while they wait.
Audi currently sells five battery-electric vehicles: two Q4 e-trons, two e-trons and one RS. In the next few years that will quadruple worldwide to 20 full electrics. But like all of us, Audi has concerns about the charging infrastructure. Taking matters into its own hands, the company is working on a "concept for quick charging for premium-level electromobility."
Called Audi charging hub, the project will start in the second half of this year and will allow owners to reserve time at special, high-powered charging stations. The cubes, which look like shipping containers, will house charging pillars and used lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. These batteries will come from disassembled development vehicles for now. But obviously we could see used batteries of all sorts performing this work.
Those batteries can store power when it's cheap, like at night, and then feed those cheap electrons to your vehicle while you relax in a lounge area that will "provide an attractive, premium place to pass the time." For the Audi Q4 e-tron, that could be less than 30 minutes for an 80% charge, and the RS is even faster. Audi will provide the snacks and drinks too. It also eliminates the need for high-voltage lines and expensive transformers, Audi says.
The cubes will have 2.45 MWh of storage and a charging output of up to 300 kW. Then all it needs is a 400-volt hookup to plug into the vehicle. "That makes output starting at 11 kW per cube sufficient to be able to fill the three storage modules with a total capacity of 2.45 MWh continually and to charge them overnight," said Audi in a release. They'll also feature solar panels on the roof for additional power.
The hubs can be transported, installed and adapted to different locations easily, without worrying about local networks.
"A flexible high-performing charging park like this does not require much from the local electricity grid and uses a sustainable battery concept. Our customers benefit in numerous ways: from the ability to make exclusive reservations, a lounge area and short waiting times thanks to high-performance charging," says Oliver Hoffmann, member of the board for technical development of Audi AG.
The company is currently searching for locations in Germany, as well as possible partners. Once it's up and running, Audi will study how people use it and the findings will inform the company on further implementation. Audi also notes that for the pilot phase, it plans to allow drivers of other electric vehicles to use the spaces, as long as they're not already reserved.