Audi is one of the founders of IONITY, a joint venture between selected automotive companies which aims to expand the network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles, particularly on long-distance routes. A cutting-edge network, with a charging capacity of up to 350 kW which will drastically cut charging times compared to the systems currently available. Audi e-tron, the German carmaker’s first 100% electric vehicle, will be one of the first to benefit from this.
Charging infrastructure is crucial
According to Marcus Groll, Chief Operating Officer of IONITY, one of the main issues for electric mobility is how it copes on long-distance journeys, which must undoubtedly be improved. When making a purchasing decision, many customers ask themselves: can I also use the car to go on holiday? Or can I get to the seaside at the weekend? Therefore, for the first step, IONITY is focusing on developing a pan-European charging network along motorways.
Ten countries by summer 2018
IONITY’s goal is ambitious: make a powerful, reliable and international charging network available as soon as possible. By the summer of 2018, the first 20 locations will be up and running in ten countries: Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom. By the end of the year the charging stations should number up to 200, but the actual figure will depend on the approval process in the individual countries and the hardware development process. In any event, by early 2020 the IONITY network will boast 400 charging stations.
Selecting the locations
e-Audi drivers will probably recharge their vehicle overnight at home, or else when they reach their destination. IONITY is focusing on specific locations and on motorways, with the goal of providing the best out-of-town charging options, in particular en route. The ideal locations are those which offer multiple services: cafés, restaurants, good Wi-Fi and a playground for children - the more services, the better the location.
Beyond the charging station
Electrification is a new form of mobility. Charging batteries is very different from traditional refuelling, which sees the driver filling their tank and then going inside to pay. At IONITY charging points, the customer simply plugs in the CCS plug – authentication and billing are conducted automatically in the background – and then enjoys a break. What changes is the approach – you don’t stop to charge the car, rather you charge when you stop, as you can recharge the vehicle in a short space of time.
Recharging at 350 kW
IONITY charging points have a maximum capacity of 350 kW, to minimise charging times. Just two years ago, 50 kW was state of the art – now this figure is seven times greater, thanks in part to the development work on charging systems carried out by Audi. Each station will have an average of six charging points, which will be able to provide power (at 150 kW) to six vehicles simultaneously: an ideal scenario which will likely be the case in 8 to 10 years. Moreover, IONITY’s charging stations will use renewable energy from local suppliers.
Source: AUDI AG