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Audi pilots rapid EV charging hubs with premium lounge areas...

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Mat Castle's picture
Head of Engagement Axis

My initial career was in the sustainable energy sector. I now work in the disruptive collaboration tech space, with a big focus on reducing the carbon footprint of collaboration in the business...

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While battery range for electric vehicles has reached the point that most drivers don't need to worry about running out during daily commutes and errands, they still need to recharge on longer trips. To prevent charging infrastructure from becoming a bottleneck for rapid EV adoption, the Biden administration's American Jobs Plan includes USD 15 billion for building a national network of 500,000 charging stations. Automakers are getting in on the game, too — Audi just unveiled its plans for a modular rapid charging station.

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The German carmaker's rapid charging hubs will deploy used lithium batteries for energy storage, which can charge during off-peak hours and feed EVs during the day. This eliminates the need for high-voltage lines when installing hubs, and allows them to be easily moved to new locations.

Audi drivers will be able to reserve charging slots and access an upstairs lounge area while waiting for their car's battery to fill up. Drivers of other brands are welcome to use available bays and access part of the lounge, but won't be able to make reservations. The first pilot station will open in Germany in the second half of 2021.

With Audi aiming to add 20 fully electric models to its line-up by 2025, no wonder the company is considering infrastructure, too. Instead of viewing EV charging as a necessary evil, Audi is using it to provide a customer experience that adds to the brand's premium appeal. (Tesla is reported to be thinking along the same lines, having recently filed a new trademark for restaurant services.)

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 10, 2021

Rethinking the fueling process is so important. The idea of fast charging being a fill up like a gas tank isn't what the future will be, it'll be building into longer trips something like this while simply charging at home 98% of the time. When I tell people I have to stop and charge on a long trip, they seem to think EVs are costing me precious time-- but when I add up the amount of time they're stopping weekly at gas stations compared with my 5-6 stops to charge on the highway per year (not to mention less time spent in the auto shop!), I definitely come out ahead. 

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Jun 10, 2021

I have been saying this for a while.  Gas stations that already have restaurants incorporated will be able to convert to an electric charging model more quickly. People can eat and charge.  This will be an important model for people doing long road trips and an option for gas stations to make more money than just off the gas or the charge they sell!  

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 10, 2021

Tesla's Harris Ranch 18-space charging facility, located at the junction of Interstate 5 and State Route 198, is very close to halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Soon to be upgraded to 100 spaces, it's just another example of how Elon Musk seems to be perennially one step ahead of his competition.

They tell me BBQ at the adjacent Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant is terrific. Not many options for vegans/vegetarians at the facility, however, which is hosted by California's largest beef producer. Harris Ranch, aka "Cowschwitz", produces 150 million lbs. of beef/year.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 10, 2021

Bob-- if you're ever in Florida and need recommendations for restaurants with vegan BBQ, give me a shout!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 10, 2021

Will do -

Until recently we had great vegan-cajun restaurant in L.A. Its owner/chef, an ex-petroleum engineer, had walked away from her lucrative career in Houston to pursue a more climate- and animal-friendly one.

Though Krimsey's Cajun Kitchen has closed its doors, its chef Krimsey Lilleth is busy finishing The Vegan-Cajun Cookbook for publisher Random House - while pursuing a carbon-free master's degree in nuclear engineering!

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jun 11, 2021

Mat, This Audi news is some I had not heard. Where are these charging hubs to be located? 

I have never seen one. Locally our Audi sales center has a DCFC in their back gated area. I asked how much power in kW it is? And can I see it work. No one there in sales had any idea. They think it's for service used by the techs. 

   So they seem to have a long way to go. I live in the Phoenix Arizona area. 

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