With plans to offer more than 20 fully electric models by 2025, Audi understands that there is a need to make sure the availability of charging infrastructure. The German automaker recently presented the Audi charging hub concept, which will be part of pilot project set to introduced in the second half of 2021, with the possibility of a serial rollout in the future.
The idea here is based on container cubes that house not just the charging pillars but also used lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. The latter are modules from disassembled development vehicles, which give them a new, sustainable purpose to store direct current.
This approach (think of it like a giant power bank), negates the need for complex infrastructure high-voltage lines and expensive transformers. Audi says the batteries can store up to 2.45 MWh of energy, and each cube can be charged via an 11-kW output when hooked up to a standard 400-volt power source. Each hub features six charging stations with outputs of up to 300 kW, making them suitable for many of Audi’s current EVs like the e-tron GT.
The advantages of this system are reduced planning time and costs, and the modular concept allows for maximum flexibility and scalability. The hubs can therefore be easily transported, installed and adapted to an individual location quickly, largely independent of local network capacities.
More importantly, the batteries can be charged at night when electrical grids are lightly taxed (in certain markets), and then used to charge vehicles in the day, reducing the impact on peak power demands in certain cities or regions. Solar panels on the roof can also assist in charging the batteries, further reducing the strain placed on the power grid.
Each hub will also have premium lounge that customers can spend some time in while their vehicle is being charged. Audi EV owners can reserve a charging slot in advance, while drivers of other brands can use the facility when there are no reservations. The first Audi charging hub will be set up in Germany, and the findings about day-to-day operations and customer acceptance will decide if more will be established in the future.
“The charging hub embodies our aspiration for the electric era and highlights Audi’s commitment to ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’. A flexible high-power charging park like this does not require much from the local electricity grid and uses a sustainable battery concept,” said said 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,” he added.