Automotive

Audi tests urban EV charging hub with included customer lounge

Audi tests urban EV charging h...
The Audi urban charging hub concept features six fast-charging spots plus a customer lounge for drivers to work or relax while waiting for their electric cars to charge
The Audi urban charging hub concept features six fast-charging spots plus a customer lounge for drivers to work or relax while waiting for their electric cars to charge
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The Audi urban charging hub concept features six fast-charging spots plus a customer lounge for drivers to work or relax while waiting for their electric cars to charge
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The Audi urban charging hub concept features six fast-charging spots plus a customer lounge for drivers to work or relax while waiting for their electric cars to charge
The 2,153-sq-ft customer lounge features comfy-looking seating, numerous big screens, an upscale automat, and information about various Audi products
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The 2,153-sq-ft customer lounge features comfy-looking seating, numerous big screens, an upscale automat, and information about various Audi products
The customer lounge offers drivers a place to relax or work while waiting for their vehicles to charge
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The customer lounge offers drivers a place to relax or work while waiting for their vehicles to charge
The lounge area includes a luxury shopping experience
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The lounge area includes a luxury shopping experience
The Audi charging hub is home to six 320-kW fast chargers powered by second-life Li-ion batteries and/or a green power connection and rooftop solar
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The Audi charging hub is home to six 320-kW fast chargers powered by second-life Li-ion batteries and/or a green power connection and rooftop solar
The lounge area has open and screened seating for work or relaxation
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The lounge area has open and screened seating for work or relaxation
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Not all drivers looking to ditch the combustion engine in favor of battery-electric drive have ready access to chargers at home. We've seen a number of novel solutions proposed for on-street charging – including plug-in lamp posts and flat and flush charge points – but Audi is toying with the idea of installing urban charging hubs with an included while-you-wait entertainment lounge to serve its EV customers. And the first pilot project opened for business yesterday at the Nuremberg Exhibition Center.

It's not the first charging hub we've seen. LA-based Xos recently introduced a mobile charging station for fleet operators, and Porsche offered a track day charging solution before that. But the inclusion of a plush customer lounge sets the Audi idea apart.

The Audi charging hub is made up of container-based cubes, each hosting two fast-charging stations and second-life EV batteries (which have been sourced from electric test vehicles). This makes the setup fairly flexible, but the pilot project in Nuremberg has about 2.45-MWh of onsite storage capacity and is connected to existing green power infrastructure to continually fill up the battery banks. Solar panels on the roof of the installation are reckoned to add up to 30 kW to the system.

The Audi charging hub is home to six 320-kW fast chargers powered by second-life Li-ion batteries and/or a green power connection and rooftop solar
The Audi charging hub is home to six 320-kW fast chargers powered by second-life Li-ion batteries and/or a green power connection and rooftop solar

The hub includes six 320-kW fast-charging points that can be reserved ahead of arrival via a companion mobile app, and the facility is capable of topping up around 80 vehicles every day "without reaching the limits of the energy storage system’s capacity combined with the hub’s 200-kW power input."

A swivel arm is on hand at each charging point to help EV drivers with charging cable handling, and for the duration of the pilot there will be an Audi employee on site to see to customer needs.

By way of example, charging an e-tron GT four-door coupe from 5 to 80 percent is reported to take a little over 20 minutes. And customers can spend that time in the luxurious hub lounge that sits atop the container cubes.

Inside the spacious lounge, drivers are treated to comfy-looking seating for work or relaxation, a 40-m2 (~430-sq-ft) patio area, an in-lounge shopping experience, and huge screens showing Audi model configurators, information about how the hub works and what's on offer, and even details on the charging status of plugged-in vehicles.

The 2,153-sq-ft customer lounge features comfy-looking seating, numerous big screens, an upscale automat, and information about various Audi products
The 2,153-sq-ft customer lounge features comfy-looking seating, numerous big screens, an upscale automat, and information about various Audi products

There's no mention of toilet facilities but a "just-in-time delivery service for food" is available, together with a battery exchange station for ebikes, an e-scooter lending service, and electric vehicle test drives supervised by company experts.

At this stage, the pilot project is aimed at Audi EV drivers only and only certain models will be able to take advantage of the full charging experience. The duration of the pilot hasn't been revealed, but Audi will monitor things like peak usage times and customer experience to inform future developments.

Source: Audi

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7 comments
7 comments
guzmanchinky
That's very cool! But I'm still waiting for the battery that charges in 5 minutes to 90%. It's coming soon.
Gods Holy Trousers
Has it got beds in there too?
BlueOak
All that space for only 6 charging stations? Seems like a woefully low number of stations and not economically viable given the real estate and construction costs.
Jinpa
Authors of charging station articles should use a common cost figure, so users can compare. Maybe high-end Audi users aren't cost-conscious, but the rest of us are.
Chuck
Looks great
CAVUMark
Nice rest stop. COVID free?
SplineDoctor
@BlueOak
Well, it's really oversized, especially in crowded urban spaces. But considering that Audi makes overpriced luxury EVs, they probably wouldn't care, because their customers are fine with that.