Audi prepares to ‘switch on’ its world first charging hub pilot.
Exploring ways to best serve the needs of electric vehicle customers in future, Audi prepares to open its ‘charging hub’ pilot to customers – a unique concept in charging infrastructure.
21 December, 2021
The Audi charging hub is constructed using container cubes which can be assembled and disassembled again in a matter of days
Just three months ago it was still at concept stage, but now Audi’s unique ‘charging hub’ pilot is ready to be made operational and accept its first customers. Situated at the exhibition centre in Nuremberg, this first Audi charging hub is the only charging concept of its kind in the world and will be available to customers from December 23rd.
The quick-charging station with reservable high-power charging areas is designed primarily to aid electric car owners who don’t have any charging opportunities at home. It is intended to serve future peak demand for charging in urban environments and with its connected lounge area offers a premium charging experience into the bargain.
“We want to use it to test flexible and premium-oriented quick-charging infrastructure in urban space,” says Ralph Hollmig, Audi charging hub project manager. “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 Audi charging hub is constructed using container cubes which can be assembled and disassembled again in existing areas in a matter of days. The cubes provide two fast-charging stations for each unit and can be combined in various configurations. Used and processed lithium ion batteries function as energy storage systems – what are known as second-life batteries – taken from dismantled development vehicles, reducing both costs and resources.
This makes complex infrastructure with high-voltage power lines and expensive transformers unnecessary and means that the Audi charging hub's battery-storage solution will bring quick-charging infrastructure where the electric grid is not enough.
Thanks to the roughly 2.45 MWh of interim storage, the charging stations in Nuremberg only need a 200kW green power connection to the low-voltage network that is already available, which is more than enough for operating the Audi charging hub. The 200 kW are enough to continually fill the storage modules, while solar panels on the roof additionally provide up to 30kW of green energy. Customers can charge electric cars with up to 320kW of power at six charging points, meaning a total of about 80 vehicles can be charged here per day without reaching the limits of the energy storage system’s capacity combined with the hub’s 200 kW power input.
Audi customers will use the new reservation function in the myAudi app to book a slot at one of the charging areas and the pilot project will seek to determine what, if any changes, are needed to streamline that process. In addition it will look at customers’ expectations of a premium charging experience, and technical aspects like the requirements for modern battery storage systems. Audi also wants to determine which times of day the facility is particularly frequently used.
Audi customers will use the new reservation function in the myAudi app to book a slot at one of the charging areas
The Audi charging hub pilot will also offer a range of additional services to customers while they are charging their vehicles
The Audi charging hub pilot will also offer a range of additional services to customers while they are charging their vehicles, including a battery swap facility for electric bikes, an electric scooter lending service, information about various Audi products. Customers will also be able to take test drives in theAudi Q4 e-tron and RS e-tron GT, supervised by Audi experts and there is also an Audi car care facility on site.
Then of course there is the Audi lounge, a 200 square metre open space that includes a 40 square metre patio area. Here customers are looked after by Audi staff between 10am and 7pm, while the lounge and the charge points will be available around the clock. In the lounge, customers can choose to relax or work as the mood takes them. They might even decide to configure their new Audi on the 98 inch screen in the lounge, of check their car's current charge level.
“Our customers will share multiple benefits,” says project manager Hollmig. “With an exclusive reservation option, a lounge area, short idle time thanks to high charging capacity, and a novel swivel arm to simplify handling the charging cable.”
Although a pilot at this stage, the Audi charging hub represents the brand’s commitment to e-mobility and finding ways of making the whole process of ‘living electric’ more streamlined and pleasurable for the customer.
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