Audi has unveiled an interesting high-speed, premium "charging hub" concept that will allow Audi EV owners to make a reservation for up to 300 kW charging speeds. The stations will be powered by lithium-ion batteries that are themselves recharged at night so they don't impact peak power demands in cities or regions. It plans to pilot the concept in Germany by late summer.
The automaker plans to release up to 20 fully electric vehicles over the coming years and noted that a robust charging infrastructure will be key to their success. In effect, hundreds of thousands of new electric cars trying to charge at peak times could play havoc with power grids. At the same time, charging stations and other infrastructure may not be in place by the time all those cars arrive.
To address that, Audi came up with the idea of a charging hub based on flexible container cubes. Those will house second-life lithium-ion batteries delivering a storage capability of up to 2.45 MWh, allowing for six charging stations with outputs of 300 kW. The idea is that the batteries would recharge at night when electrical grids are lightly taxed, then charge vehicles during the day, supplemented by solar panels.
Audi notes that the hubs could be "transported, installed and adapted to the individual location quickly — largely independent of local network capacities." Each station would have a "premium" lounge with snacks, drinks etc., giving you something to do while your vehicle charges. (It takes the Audi e-tron GT about 23 minutes to go from 5 to 80 percent battery capacity at its maximum 270 kW charging limit). Audi drivers would be able to make reservations, but the hub could be used by drivers of other brands if a charger is not reserved.
Audi plans to launch a pilot in late summer after it finds a location in Germany and will use the results of the test to decide on future implementation. "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," said Audi board member Oliver Hoffman.