Charging Service will bring charges across networks to one monthly bill
When the production version of the Audi E-tron officially makes its debut next week, it will be the fastest yet. Not in terms of 0-to-60 times, of course, but in terms of charging speed. Its closest competitor in that area, Tesla, limits charging to a maximum of 120 kW, even though some of its stations may be capable of 145 kW. The new all-electric German crossover? Well, it can take a zap of 150 kW.
Charging is a critical part of the electric vehicle ownership, and Audi is taking it quite seriously, offering a holistic approach it calls Audi e-tron Charging Service. The approach gives owners in Europe access to 72,000 charging points (and growing) from a variety of providers, including the Ionity network (400 stations by 2020!). Regardless of network or charging speed, however, it's all handled by a single card. To set it up, the company says you just need to visit the myAudi portal and "take out an individual charging contract."
This takes all the assorted billings from various stations and networks and hands them to you in a single total at the end of the month. Also through the portal, one can look over their charging history, billing, and manage their contract.
Although, the car is being launched in San Francisco, California, the press release containing all the details (below) does not mention charging on these shores. While we imagine they will attempt a similar approach here, we are pretty certain that the E-tron will be able to take full advantage of its remarkable charging abilities while using the Electrify America network. While it only has a dozen locations open currently (no pun intended), according to its website hundreds more are coming.
The Audi E-tron has a WLTP range of 248 miles, so we expect it will receive an EPA figure of around 225 miles. Though its production trim is to be revealed next week, the automaker gave us a nice tease of what to expect today.
Mobility without boundaries: Audi e-tron Charging Service completes range of charging options
The e-tron marks the dawning of a new era for Audi. The brand with the four rings is being transformed from a classic automotive manufacturer into a premium mobility systems supplier. The Audi e-tron Charging Service will be part of a broad-based offering for charging and provides Europe-wide access to the public charging infrastructure. Audi’s proprietary charging card brings together over 72,000 charging points operated by 220 providers, for unlimited, trouble-free electric mobility.
Audi has put an end to fears over the car’s range. One key factor, alongside giving the Audi e-tron a sufficient range for everyday driving, is a broad-based choice of charging options, whether at home or out and about. Drivers who charge their e-tron overnight and set off the next morning with a full battery don’t have to worry about stopping at a charging station during their normal daily drive. The range of more than 400 kilometers (248.5 mi) in the realistic WLTP cycle enables electric driving without compromise. For longer distances, Audi offers a smart solution in the shape of the e-tron Charging Service, which handles the charging process swiftly and simply.
“The e-tron Charging Service builds confidence in our electric initiative. Following on from the Audi e-tron, in 2019 the Audi e-tron Sportback will be the second electric car to go on sale, followed in 2020 by the Audi e-tron GT from Audi Sport. We already have the right answers to many of the questions and concerns regarding charging,” remarked Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development.
Easy: barrier-free access with a single contract Through its new charging service, Audi provides all e-tron customers and therefore also owners of plug-in models with access to around 80 percent of all public charging stations in Europe. At market launch there are already over 72,000 charging points available in 16 EU countries, with a further eight markets in Eastern Europe due to follow in a few months’ time. Billing is handled centrally under a single contract, with standard, clear pricing models.
The service could not be easier to use: Whether AC or DC, 11 kW or 150 kW – just one card, the e-tron Charging Service Card, is all customers need to start the charging process. Many charging stations can also be activated by scanning a QR code with a smartphone. Customers complete a one-time registration for the service in the myAudi portal and take out an individual charging contract. All charging processes are automatically billed together at the end of the month. Customers can use the myAudi portal to view their current charging history at any time, review their current bills and manage their contract.
“With the e-tron Charging Service, we are actually offering a premium charging service ahead of the Audi e-tron’s market introduction. The product is tailored to the needs of our customers. We will be steadily expanding the service hand in hand with our strong partner Digital Charging Solutions,” commented Fermin Soneira, Head of Product Marketing at Audi.
Trendsetting: route planning by app Longer journeys with stops for charging are just as straightforward as charging itself. They can be planned either ahead of time in the myAudi app or directly in the car. In both cases the customer is shown the appropriate route with the required charging points. The navigation system considers not only the battery’s charge but also the traffic situation, and includes the required charging time in its arrival time calculation. The system includes the locations throughout Europe of DC charging stations, at which the Audi e-tron can be charged with direct current, as well as most AC stations for charging with alternating current. Charging planning is continuously updated to the prevailing conditions. For example, an alternative suggestion is made if a targeted DC quick-charging station can no longer be reached. Charge planning is synchronized seamlessly between the display in the car and in the myAudi smartphone app. During an active charge process, it displays the charging time remaining and the battery’s current charge status. Customers can also opt to receive push notifications as soon as they can continue their journey. Advance climate control can equally be managed with the app.
Convenient: plug & charge From 2019 onward, charging will be even more convenient for Audi customers. This is when the plug & charge function will be introduced. It enables the Audi e-tron to authenticate itself at charging stations via state-of-the-art cryptographic procedures, after which it is authorized – a card will no longer be necessary. All Audi e-tron models rolling off the assembly line from mid-2019 will support this function as standard. Customers can also use plug & charge privately to unlock their connect charging system. This then eliminates the need to enter a PIN to protect against unauthorized use.
Quick: charging at up to 150 kW For lengthy trips – driving to a holiday destination, for instance – a quick-charging facility is essential. That is why the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche, the BMW Group, Daimler AG and the Ford Motor Company have founded the joint venture Ionity. The Audi e-tron is the first series-production model capable of charging with up to 150 kW at Ionity’s high-output DC charging stations. This means it is all set for the next long-distance stretch of a journey in approximately half an hour. The e-tron Charging Service covers Ionity’s quick-charging network, which is undergoing gradual expansion and will already comprise 400 stations by 2020. It will supply cars mainly with eco-electricity. In addition, further quick-charging stations from other providers complete the e-tron Charging Service range along the whole long-distance route.
Versatile: all-round charging solution including at home Audi offers various solutions for charging in the garage at home: The standard compact mobile charging system can be used with either a 230 volt household outlet or a 400 volt three-phase outlet. The optional connect charging system doubles the charging power to as much as 22 kW. The second on-board charger required for this will be available as an option at some point in 2019.
In conjunction with a compatible home energy management system, it offers intelligent functions such as charging when electricity is less expensive or with on-site solar power if there is a photovoltaic system on the roof. In addition, in selected markets Audi will provide green electricity offerings for charging at home in collaboration with local energy suppliers.
Helpful: Audi Mobility Check
Customers buying an Audi e-tron can check online which options are available in their garage using the Audi Mobility Check on the Audi homepage. This will provide an initial assessment of whether a house’s electrical system is suitable for charging. Home Check provides customers with even more information. In selected markets, the local Audi dealer searches a vast network for a qualified electrician who will investigate the home charging options and even install the necessary technology, if desired.