Filling up your gas tank is one of the least luxurious aspects of owning a car, and electric vehicle charging only exacerbates the issue by making you wait longer — which you can do in your vehicle, while running errands, or by killing time in the Bob Evans’ next to the poorly-lit charging stations. Unless you’re an Audi owner in Germany. Now you can reserve a charging space at a charging lounge, so you can wait in class.
The charging hub opens on Dec. 23 in Nuremberg and is designed to service electric car owners that don’t have their own charging ports at home — something that seems wild to me. Luxury car buyers would theoretically seem to be the most likely to be able to afford the installation of an at-home charger, but the cost of charging — 0.31 euros per kilowatt hour, or $0.44 at the current exchange rate — isn’t awfully expensive.
That’s the price if you’re an Audi e-tron Charging Service subscriber, though. Other EVs can be charged at this lounge so long as a reservation is made via the myAudi app, but it’ll likely cost more to do so. Those prices aren’t currently available.
The hub is built from container cubes that can be assembled, disassembled, and moved quite quickly, which makes it a great way to bring charging stations to the areas that need them most. Each cube contains two fast-charging units, and they can be combined with other cubes to create a larger charging area.
The coolest part is that the hub uses recycled battery from dismantled development vehicles, so Audi has actually found a solid use for those batteries that still have some life in them.
Even better, the cubes don’t rely on connecting to already-existing power lines or transformers. You can pretty much bring these cubes anywhere, even out into the middle of nowhere, and still effectively charge cars with it.
This first hub in Nuremburg has 2.45 MWh of storage, and it only needs a 200 kW green power connection to the low-voltage network to get things going and keep the storage modules filled.
That means that if you fully charged vehicles with 320 kW batteries at the Nuremburg cube, you could charge about 80 vehicles per day without tapping out the hub’s energy supply.
And those are just the charging concerns. The hub has a 2,000 square foot lounge above the charging cubes where you can relax. You can also order food delivery, nab a treat from upscale vending machines, have someone service your vehicle, borrow an electric scooter, or charge your electric bike’s battery.
It’s a high-class, pinkies-out experience that I was fully expecting to come at some kind of cost, but it appears that anyone can access the lounge and other services. You’ll likely just have to pay for the food and drinks you order while you’re there.
To get the full experience, though, you definitely have to have time. Rapid chargers may only take 30 minutes to refill your battery, but that’s still a substantial amount of time for busy folks who will need to plan ahead to access these chargers.