No doubt you've waited in a queue to fill up at a gas station. Well, imagine that scenario at a charging station for electric vehicles, where each “fill” can last 20 minutes or more.
Audi understands this and is developing a concept for its own premium charging station where slots can be reserved ahead of time, helping you to properly plan your trip. There will also be a lounge area where you can relax and have a coffee or snack while your EV charges.
The automaker last week showed off a concept for its charging station, which it has labeled the Audi Charging Hub, and said it will run a trial at a single site in Germany in the second half of 2021. A final decision on the site will be made at a later date.
The station features a flexible design that enables it to be expanded or reduced in size via modular blocks. Each of these blocks houses a charging pillar as well as lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. The idea is that the batteries can be recovered from old EVs. For the trial, Audi will use batteries sourced from old prototypes.
Artist's impression of Audi charging station
By storing the electricity in batteries, it makes complex infrastructure with high-voltage lines and expensive transformers unnecessary. Energy for the charging station is drawn from the grid at night or via roof-mounted solar panels.
For the trial, the station will consist of six blocks storing a total 2.45 megawatt-hours. Charging rates of up to 300 kilowatts will be possible. With Audi's E-Tron GT super sedan, charging at up to 270 kw is possible, enabling a 5-80% charge in about 22 minutes.
The station won't be exclusive to Audi customers during the trial. The plan is to allow drivers of cars from rival brands to be able to use slots that are open and not reserved, as well as parts of the lounge.
Audi plans to rollout more than a dozen EVs in the coming years and efforts like the Audi Charging Hub show that the automaker understands that availability of charging infrastructure is vital to convince buyers to make the switch. Tesla pioneered this with its Supercharger stations, and other brands such as Porsche also plan to launch their own charging stations.