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, according to a May 21 press release.
The recently introduced Q4 e-tron series offers a step into premium electric mobility and is also part of the company's electrification strategy. With the growing number of electric models, the requirements for the charging infrastructure will also expand. 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 second life modules from disassembled development vehicles doesn’t just give the battery cells a new, sustainable purpose – it also provides ancillary storage for direct current. This makes complex infrastructure with high-voltage lines and expensive transformers unnecessary.
Thanks to this huge interim storage – about 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 – mostly independent of local network capacities.
"A flexible high-performing HPC charging park like this does not require much from the local electricity grid and uses a sustainable battery concept," says Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development of Audi AG. "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.”
Premium: Lounge Area Upstairs
It only takes a little longer than a coffee break to charge an electric Audi. The Audi e-tron GT, 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% taking about 23 minutes under ideal conditions. A lounge will provide Audi customers with a modern upstairs lounge area offers a variety of amenities, such as snacks, drinks and non-food items.
Trials and Practical Test: Pilot to Launch in Late Summer
Audi is searching for a location in Germany for the charging hub pilot project and talking with possible partners. It plans to start operating the pilot project in the second half of the year. The findings about daily operations and customer acceptance will help Audi decide how best to implement the concept further.
“We are testing what the optimal technical solution is in a very realistic way," Hoffman adds. "The focus in doing so is firmly on the needs of our customers." 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.