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Checking out the Audi Charging Hub in Nuremberg: Answer to the World’s Charging Woes?

Audi’s dedicated facility for charging makes sure you won’t be left out in the cold or in hunger if your electric vehicle needs a charge.
James Wong
James Wong
02 May 2024
... charging prices are similar to what it’ll cost to charge at home - a major attraction.

We’ve all seen it plastered on the internet – EV owners facing nightmarish charging situations especially during peak seasons, like holidays, where they have to queue for hours on end just to juice up their car.

Charging infrastructure will take time to catch up. There’s the network question, and also the speed question. The former will have to be built up faster than the growth in the number of electric vehicles. The latter will ensure each charge will take a shorter time, short enough for just a coffee break perhaps, to quell queues. The reality is neither will be solved easily or quickly. Many electric vehicle owners also may not have easy access to a charger at home, as many Singaporeans living in high-rise apartments would attest to.

Audi is quick to identify this issue, hence justifying the existence of the Audi Charging Hub at Nuremberg, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Instead of charging at a mall or at a petrol station, Audi brings to the table brand appropriate facilities for charging – making it an extension of home, instead of just a place you’d unwillingly stop at just to charge. Furthermore, charging prices are similar to what it’ll cost to charge at home - a major attraction.

There are coffee machines, vending machines, an area to do work in with fast WiFi, a quiet closet for teleconference calls (or snoozing), toys for children and even an outdoor alfresco area to enjoy the summer sun – or winter snow!

Audi goes one step further by offering value-add services at the hub, which is a response to customer feedback about what they’d like to see. So there are things like the loan of electric bicycles to make full use of the nearby lake park, available gear for a car wash and groom, and even test drives offered on-site of Audi’s latest models.

Sounds great. But is it only for Audi customers? The answer is no - anybody can make use of the Audi Charging Hub. Audi customers do have some perks like being able to reserve their charging spot beforehand using the myAudi app. Initially, Audi only offered a rather more spartan area for non-Audi customers to hang out in, but now they’ve opened the Audi-only area with the luxuries to all customers as well. “How would they be exposed to an Audi then?”, was the rightful justification.

What’s more, the Audi Charging Hub isn’t fully drawing power from the grid. Instead, it uses a ‘cube’ concept which utilises second-life batteries taken from disassembled development Audis. Packaging them as cubes, they can be set up and taken down in a matter of days, making them a convenient and almost mobile solution for quick charging for areas where the electric grid is insufficient.

With the cubes that store 2.45 MWh, the Nuremberg charging station only needs a 200 kW connection to the grid. There are also solar panels installed which provide up to 30 kW of renewable energy. How power is used from the various sources available is represented in a TV screen sharing live data, which is open for all guests to see. Every day, some 80 vehicles can be charged at the Nuremberg facility without taxing the setup.

Audi will be rolling out more Charging Hubs in Germany but currently has no plans to open one in Singapore yet. I think it’s a great workaround for our land-scarce country while offering a premium charging experience that’s befitting of the brand. What do you think?

Photos by James Wong

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