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Audi plans more charging hubs

Could service stations for EV owners become commonplace?

21 Jun 2022

FOLLOWING the success of Audi’s initial charging hub, which came online in Nuremberg late last year, the Ingolstadt-based firm plans to set up more hubs in Zurich, Salzburg and Berlin.


The concept incorporates a high-end charging station with reservable fast-charging points, a lounge area to relax or work, electric scooter service, and food and grocery delivery service. 


To take advantage of the feature-rich charging hubs, consumers must have a PnC-capable Audi e-tron model as well as an active e-tron charging-service contract.


The Nuremberg hub has proved a success for Audi to far: the brand reported 3,100 charges at the facility between January and the end of April. To put that number into perspective, that’s an average of about 24 charges per day across the six reservable charging points. 


The first of the new sites, in downtown Zurich, will be a more compact charging-hub pilot site that will – like similar ones in Salzburg and Berlin – become operational later this year.


Audi set out to offer fast-charging infrastructure capable of meeting demands that may soon exceed the existing grid capacity. The brand’s solution was to use second-life batteries for energy storage in a network of cubes, each of which provides two charging points.


With a total of 2.45MWh of interim storage across the cube network, customers can charge with up to 320kW of power at all six charging points. 


According to Audi, a total of 80 EVs can be charged daily without reaching the limits of the energy storage system’s capacity, including its 200kW “low-voltage network” power input and 30kW from solar panels on the roof.


When the first hub opened its doors on December 23, Audi said that the concept would serve those who couldn’t charge at home and meet on-the-go urban charging demand.


“We want to use it to test flexible and premium-oriented quick-charging infrastructure in urban space,” Audi charging hub project manager, Ralph Hollmig, said at the time.


“We’re going where our customers don’t necessarily wake up in the morning with a fully charged electric car and… thinking about increasing charging demand in the future.”


Around 60 per cent of charging sessions at the Nuremberg hub were from repeat customers, which indicates that Audi’s vision was in line with what modern EV buyers want.


Cost may well have been a factor for customers using the hub, too, because Audi claims that using the charging hub’s fast-charge service costs about the same as charging at home.


“We’re providing people in urban areas with charging at the price they would pay to charge using the Wallbox at home,” Hollmig said. 


While the charging hub in Zurich will be smaller than the Nuremberg hub, it will be based on the same modular design. Audi has also confirmed three additional sites in German metropolises by 2023 to help meet increasing charging demands in urban centres

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