While you might have trouble actually buying one thanks to lithium-ion battery shortages (or canceling your order if you don’t feel like waiting), that’s not stopping Audi from promoting the fast charging capabilities of the e-tron. Audi says the e-tron can charge to 80% capacity in as little as a half hour.
That’s pretty fast, and in line with Tesla’s latest Models S and X, which also support 150kW charging. Audi says a 100km (62 mile trip) would require only ten minutes charging time. However where the e-tron charging technology shines is in its capability to achieve a full charge quickly.
Where competing electric vehicles take hours to fully charge, the e-tron can do it in as little as 50 minutes. The batteries can accept the full 150kW of power through about 70% of the charge before intelligent battery management kicks in to protect the battery, and then charge at 100kW through the next 10%.
This is a big difference from other EV charging methods that only reach the peak power for a brief time early on, and then considerably reduce power well before 70%. While these manufacturers are reducing the power intake for the exact same reasons — to protect the battery — Audi is more confident in its battery management system.
A large part of this is Audi’s elaborate cooling system for its batteries, which keeps the operating temperature between 25 to 35 degrees celsius whether being charged or used to power the car. Excessive heat is detrimental to any battery, so adequate cooling is extremely important.
Audi mastered this, which appears to have opened the door to some of the speediest charging available (or more accurately, soon to be) on the market.
In any case, fast charging won’t mean much unless there are enough fast chargers out there to take advantage of the car’s capabilities. Whereas Tesla has spent millions to build out its own proprietary Supercharger network, Audi has chosen to rely on public chargers instead.
While the availability of public high-power chargers is somewhat limited, Audi has partnered with third-party providers including Electrify America in the U.S. and Ionity in Europe. Electrify America plans to have 480 charging stations in operation by the end of 2019, while Ionity says it expects to have about 400 stations open by next year.
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