Remember when Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess went on a public rant about his "sad state of affairs" experience with Ionity charging stations in Europe? This week, group brand Audi will open its charging hub concept in Nuremburg that's like saying, "This, actually, is how we charge." The quick-charging facility is aimed at Audi owners who don't have home charging available, but is open to anyone with an EV.
The modular, cube-based design wants to make such facilities easy to erect in urban areas. The automaker says the Power Cubes that house the charging electronics can be put together and taken apart "in a few days." Said cubes are set up on the ground, each containing a 320-kW high-power charger, a buffer storage unit composed of second-life battery modules, and an energy management system. A Storage Cube at this concept site contains enough battery capacity to retain 2.45 megawatt-hours of charging capacity. This assemblage is managed by the last module, a Control Cube.
In addition, the hub draws a continuous 200 kW of green energy from the low-voltage grid already in use, enough to keep the Storage and Power Cubes energized throughout a day of charging. That grid draw eliminates the need for a new high-voltage infrastructure. Solar cells on the roof can provide another 30 kW of energy. Assuming the day begins at full storage capacity, Audi says the facility can recharge around 80 EVs per day.
The six stations in Nuremburg have a charging capacity of 320 kW. This would juice an Audi E-Tron GT battery with 62 miles of range in about five minutes, and take that battery from 5% to 80% in under 25 minutes. Audi customers with an E-Tron Charging Service contract will pay 31 cents per kilowatt-hour, which Audi says is the same price as using a home Wallbox. It's not clear what non-Audi owners will pay.
The automaker has designed a bunch of ways to employ a customer's time while a vehicle recharges. The 2,100-square-foot upstairs lounge and 431-sq.-ft. patio contain a luxury vending machine, which is aside from what Audi calls "just-in-time food delivery," and a 98-inch screen for checking charging status or configuring an Audi. There's a battery swap station for electric bicycles, a service to lend e-scooters, and test drives offered in the Q4 E-Tron and RS E-Tron GT. The charging stations and lounge will be open around the clock, an employee on duty from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help visitors.
Audi said it wants to learn what its customers want from "a premium charging experience," from making reservations to occupying themselves, as well as usage demands throughout the day, and what's demanded of battery storage systems to fulfill all use requirements. To find out more about the inner workings of the station, check out this video from the 14:00 mark.
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