Audi’s e-tron quattro SUV, due out in 2018, is one of several planned EVs that will offer American car buyers more space and more range. Longer ranges mean bigger batteries, and that means either longer charge times or higher charging power levels, and there’s no question which of those consumers will prefer.
“Progress in charging technology is crucial to the success of electromobility,” says Audi in a press release, announcing plans to deploy DC fast charging infrastructure with at least 150 kW of power in 2017 (today’s norm is 50 kW, but the new CCS standard allows for up to 350 kW). With 150 kW charging technology, an SUV such as the e-tron quattro could charge its 95 kWh battery to 80% capacity in less than half an hour, enough for a cruising range of around 250 miles.
Audi says that such high power levels require cooling of the charging connector to prevent thermally overloading the pins.
Also in 2017, the company hopes to launch Audi wireless charging (AWC), an inductive AC technology for home charging. AWC uses a floor charging plate with an integrated primary coil and an inverter. The first-generation system offers charging power of 3.6 kW, and Audi hopes to raise power levels to as much as 11 kW in the next version.
When the car approaches to within a few meters of the charging plate, radio contact is established, and the driver sees the precise position of the plate on the car’s display screen. Prior to charging, an electric motor in the floor plate raises the primary coil to minimize the distance to the secondary coil, which is integrated into the front section of the Audi e-tron’s floor pan.
Audi is also developing a system that lets the car position itself. The driver can get out of the car and initiate the parking procedure via smartphone.