Audi is driving its transformation as a provider of sustainable premium mobility. The brand plans to ramp up its efforts by 2025 with a wide range of more than 20 fully electric models. The key to its success and the crux of this transformation is the availability of charging infrastructure. Audi is working on a concept for quick-charging for premium-level electromobility. A pilot project in the second half of the year will provide a specific outlook and a practical test for a possible serial roll-out.
Audi’s electric offensive is picking up speed: For the first time ever, more than half of the newly introduced models are electrified in 2021. The recently introduced Q4 e-tron series offers an attractively priced step into premium electric mobility and is also an important volume building block of the electrification strategy. With the growing number of electric models, the requirements for the charging infrastructure will also grow. A solution to peak demands in the future could be the Audi charging hub. The concept calls for high-power charging (HPC) stations that can be reserved in advance to provide a high level of planning security. A lounge area directly nearby will provide an attractive, premium place to pass the time.
Flexible and sustainable concept: 2.45 Mwh storage
Cubes form the foundation of the Audi charging hub. The flexible container cubes fulfill various technical requirements and house charging pillars as well as used lithium ion batteries for energy storage. The use of 2nd life modules from disassembled development vehicles doesn’t just give the battery cells a new, sustainable purpose – it also provides a great benefit in their suitability as ancillary storage for direct current. This makes complex infrastructure with high-voltage lines and expensive transformers unnecessary.
Thanks to this huge interim storage – roughly 2.45 Mwh – the six charging stations, which have a charging output of up to 300 kW, only need a standard 400 volt high-voltage hook-up. 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. Photovoltaic modules on the roof provide additional green energy. This not only makes it easier to selection possible locations, it also reduces the planning time required and the costs while also saving resources. In addition, the modular concept provides maximum flexibility and scalability.
The hub can be transported, installed and adapted to the individual location quickly – largely independent of local network capacities.
“The charging hub embodies our aspiration for the electric era and highlights Audi’s commitment to ‘Vorsprung durch Technik.’ A flexible high-performing HPC 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. This is consistent with the premium concept,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development of Audi AG.
Premium: Lounge area upstairs
It only takes a little longer than a coffee break to charge an electric Audi. The Audi e-tron GT12, for example, reaches a charging capacity of up to 270 kW. That allows it to charge enough energy for up to 100 kilometers in about five minutes, with a charge from 5 to 80 percent taking roughly 23 minutes under ideal conditions. To make the wait a true premium experience, a lounge will provide Audi customers with the perfect setting for an enjoyable charging stop. The upstairs lounge area offers a place to pass the time that is modern and in line with the premium concept, the perfect space and setting for a break with added value. A variety of amenities and a range of snacks, drinks and non-food items make the charging stop a welcome break.
Trials and practical test: Pilot to launch in late summer
The search for a location in Germany for the Audi charging hub pilot project and talks with possible partners are currently underway. It is planned to go into operation in the second half of the year. The findings about day-to-day operations and customer acceptance that are generated from this will be decisive for further implementation of the concept. “We are testing what the optimal technical solution is in a very realistic way. The focus in doing so is firmly on the needs of our customers,” Hoffmann adds. The plan for the pilot phase also calls for drivers of other brand cars to be able to use charging stations that are open and not reserved as well as parts of the lounge.