Audi will next week open its first bespoke EV charging hub, which is planned to spearhead a complete network of lounge-style rapid-charging locations.
The pilot site, next to the exhibition centre in the German city of Nuremberg, will open to customers on Thursday 23 December, setting the tone for the design and functionality of Audi’s charging hubs.
The hub aims to meet “customers’ expectations of a premium charging experience”, with drivers able to wait in a staffed 200-square-metre lounge while their vehicle charges. Audi envisages that customers will spend between 20-30 minutes at a time there.
Ralph Hollmig, who heads up Audi’s charging hubs project, said: “We want to use it to test flexible and premium-oriented quick-charging infrastructure in urban spaces.
“We’re going where our customers don’t necessarily wake up in the morning with a fully charged electric car and at the same time thinking about increasing charging demand in the future.”
The modernist building itself is made from “flexible container cubes” that can be assembled and disassembled in a matter of days, Audi said.
Each cube houses two fast chargers, which are powered by repurposed lithium ion batteries from scrapped Audi prototype cars to reduce cost and resource usage.
Powering its devices in this way also means Audi doesn’t have to wire each charger into the grid or install large transformer devices, thereby slashing planning and construction times.
The pilot hub can store some 2.45MWh (2450kWh) of electricity, supplied chiefly by a 200kW ‘green power’ connection to the grid, with a 30kW contribution from roof-mounted solar panels.
The six charging points at the pilot location can charge at speeds of up to 320kW, and Audi promises that up to 80 cars per day can use the site without reaching the limits of the energy storage system’s capacity combined with the hub’s 200 kW power input.
Audi’s fastest-charging EV, the E-tron GT, can accept rates of up to 270kW, meaning it can gain around 62 miles of range in five minutes at the Nuremberg site.
Customers who have a Charging Service subscription through Audi can charge at 31 cents (26p) per kWh, which Audi says makes it “a real alternative to charging at home”.
The site will be open to drivers of EVs made by other companies as well, but general-access pricing hasn’t yet been confirmed.
Audi will focus specifically on development of its new charger booking system at the Nuremberg facility. Customers can reserve chargers through the MyAudi app, and then the charger itself can authenticate the transaction when plugged into the car (so long as it’s equipped with “plug and charge” functionality).
Audi has previously said it plans to install six of these hubs as part of a feasibility study before a mass roll-out, but it has yet to detail further expansion plans beyond Nuremberg.