While an electric Audi has yet to officially debut in Malaysia, Audi is innovating the electric vehicle (EV) space with the Audi Charging Hub, now with its second location in Zurich. Aiming to serve those in urban areas without access to fast chargers, the brand’s charging hub also boasts innovative ideas that make the charging experience more pleasant.
Audi’s charging hub in Switzerland is not its first, as it has previously opened one in Nuremberg in 2021. Compared to the one in Nuremberg, the Swiss Charging hub forgoes a lounge since it is located at ‘the Square’ at Zurich Airport which offers a wide range of services in the vicinity. Its main innovation is the ‘charging cubes’ which are modular energy storage components made of used lithium-ion batteries from disassembled Audi test vehicles. The hub also has a photovoltaic system on the roof, allowing for 100% renewable energy for the facility.
Audi Head of Business Innovation and the Audi project leader for the Audi charging hub in Switzerland, Martin Wosnitza said, “The second-life batteries serve as buffer storage, the advantage of which is the fact that we don’t need an elaborate, expensive infrastructure with a high-voltage grid and transformers. The hub only requires minor power demands from the local power grid. The Audi charging hub is in a position to bring a sustainable quick-charging infrastructure with second-life battery storage to all the places where the power grid would prove insufficient.”
Another highlight of the charging hub are the ‘swivel arm’ charging cables that hang above the vehicle. Like the fuel pumps in a racing paddock, the ‘swivel arm’ charging cables can reach the car’s charging socket easily without tensioning the cable, regardless of where the socket has been located by the manufacturer. This also means that the Audi charging hub is also open to EVs of other makes.
Provided at the Swiss Audi charging hub are 4 sheltered high-power charging (HPC) points that are rated at 320 kW each. This means EVs with 800-V architecture like the Audi e-tron GT can make full use of their fast-charging capabilities of up to 270 kW. Audi says its Swiss hub can supply power for up to 60 electric vehicles per day.
Also provided at the hub are two 55-inch screens that provide essential information, in addition to tips on maximising your charge. The operating displays at the charging points are height-adjustable, and the areas between the charging cubes and vehicles are wide enough for wheelchair users.
To use the chargers at the hub, Audi customers can use the myAudi app to book a charging slot. Details on how other makes can access the charger have not been specified, but the chargers are open to the public.
Now under the management of PHS Automotive, Audi Malaysia may soon bring in an electric car. For now, the Audi charging hub certainly shows some interesting innovations that we could learn from.