In the next few years, Audi wants to give its all-electric cars a quick charging capability, taking just 12 minutes to charge 80 percent. This has been confirmed by e-Tron’s product marketing manager Johannes Eckstein, who spoke to Autocar about the plan. He said Audi’s first car to have such a capability will be the e-Tron GT.
The e-Tron GT will ride on the same platform as the Porsche Taycan, which is said to be capable of charging 80 percent in just 15 minutes by using a 350-kw charger. Its battery power is enough for traveling 249 miles. Meanwhile, Audi’s e-Tron SUV will also be capable of fast charging to 80 percent (at 150 kW) in nearly 30 minutes.
The 350 kW and 150 kW rapid charging systems will be operated by Ionity, a joint venture between some big automakers to establish and expand the network of quick-charging stations across Europe. A similar project is also running in North America under Volkswagen charger network. As for today, there are no electric cars that can handle 350-kW charging without damaging the batteries. Car makers will likely produce stronger batteries that support this high power, but we don’t see this happening anytime soon.
The presence of standard fast charging stations are crucial these days, considering the rapid expansion of vehicle electrification, along with the range anxiety that haunts consumers. Quick charging will especially be important to Audi, as its e-Tron – which packs a 95 kw battery – has a range of just 249 miles. As a comparison, the less-prestigious Kia Niro EV SUV is much more efficient with 301 miles on a 64-kWh battery pack.
However, car makers like Audi that are investing into ultra-quick chargers will likely still win the competition. That’s because a longer range won’t make consumers feel secure enough if it doesn’t come with a fast-charging solution, some of them would still imagine themselves getting stranded while charging their EVs. So in the long-term, it is the e-Tron that will be able to travel faster than its competitors, since it charges quicker and has more supporting infrastructure.
But if those automakers that focus on improving powertrain find a competitive quick-charging solution, that could give Audi and the likes a new headache as efficiency will again beat infrastructure. In the end, time will tell whether those that prioritize powertrain efficiency or those that work hard to build fast charging stations that will come out on top.