Audi is working on its own fast-charging concept for its electric cars. A pilot will be created in the second half of the year to test a possible series application. The core of the concept is “premium” HPC charging in combination with a lounge offer. The power supply is to run via buffer storage.
In concrete terms, the “Audi Charging Hub” provides for six reservable charging points of 300 kW each. They are built on two levels: The chargers are accessible at the bottom, while a lounge area is available to stay at the top.
The concept is based on modular container cubes that will also house used lithium-ion batteries as buffer storage. In addition, Audi has in mind the use of 2nd-life modules from dismantled development vehicles. This will avoid the need for costly infrastructure expansion at the site with high-voltage supply lines and transformers.
“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 fill the three storage modules with a total capacity of 2.45 MWh continually and to charge them overnight. In addition, photovoltaic modules on the roof provide additional green energy,” the Ingolstadt-based company explains about the technical approach. Furthermore, the setup is intended to facilitate the subsequent selection of possible locations, save costs and speed up the time planning.
Audi also expects advantages in terms of flexibility and scalability from the cube-like structure of the concept: “The hub can be transported, installed and adapted to the individual location quickly – largely independent of local network capacities.” As far as the lounge is concerned, Audi explains that snacks, drinks and non-food items will be offered there.
Therefore, a pilot location is planned to go into operation in Germany in the second half of the year. Talks on the location and possible partners are currently underway, according to Audi. The insights gained and customer acceptance is to decide on further implementation of the concept. Incidentally, Audi also wants to open up its Charging Hub to drivers of other brands for the pilot phase. The plan is for other drivers to use “free and non-reserved charging points as well as parts of the lounge”. However, this implies that the hubs themselves are planned as proprietary facilities.
“The charging hub embodies our aspiration for the electric era and highlights Audi’s commitment to ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik.’,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi AG. “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.”
Update 30 August 2021
The concept for high power charging parks with lounge and buffer storage that Audi presented in May is becoming concrete. The manufacturer now announced the launch of the first Audi Charging Hub in Nuremberg this autumn. The Volkswagen brand has yet to provide further details on the date and location but has confirmed technical data.
Three storage modules consisting of second-life batteries from the manufacturer’s prototype vehicles hold up to 2.45 MWh of electricity. According to Audi, this should be sufficient for up to 70 charging processes (with up to 300 kW) per day. The energy storage unit is recharged via the solar modules on the roof of the charging hub or, in a grid-friendly manner, via a standard 400-volt connection. A connection to the medium-voltage grid is not required for the Audi Charging Hub, as is usually the case with HPC.
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