Audi Takes on Tesla's Superchargers by Launching 'Premium' Charging Service
Soon, range anxiety will be a thing of the past.
Audi will unleash the final version of its all-electric E-Tron SUV next week, but before that, the automaker announced its entry into the distributed charging business with the launch of its "e-tron Charging Service".
In order to be adopted by consumers with current battery technology, electric cars need somewhere to charge outside of the home when taking long trips. The public charging stations must be able to re-supply the automobile with electricity at a much faster rate than at-home charging and do so with little hassle to the consumer.
Currently, this market is dominated by Tesla's Supercharging network which houses 11,013 Superchargers at 1,342 Supercharger Stations across the world. Audi looks to one-up that number by working with 220 providers across 16 different European markets, creating a total of 72,000 charging points for its future customers. By placing distributed chargers within reach of customers in a market that it promises to lead, Audi will help to further eliminate range anxiety and allow consumers to travel long distances with ease.
“With the e-tron Charging Service, we are actually offering a premium charging service ahead of the Audi e-tron’s market introduction." said Audi's head of product marketing, Fermin Soneira. "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,”
Similar to Tesla, Audi owners will be able to plan their trips around the locations of chargers within Audi's charging network. Live in-car navigation will automatically adjust the route drivers will take, plus an added benefit of being able to pre-plan trips using the connected myAudi app on a smartphone. The navigation software will take the vehicle's current charge level and traffic in the surrounding area into account when planning routes to ensure that the owner will be able to reach the next charger without worry.
Audi will also offer different methods of paying for a charge, all of which revolve around a "contract" that the customer will register for. At first, Audi will enable access contract holders to access its charging network using a proprietary access card or QR code scanned from a phone. In 2019, Audi says that it will enable an even more convenient Tesla-like feature that enables owners to be recognized and billed simply by plugging in their vehicles, so as long as they rolled off the assembly line after mid-2019. Customers will then receive a bill at the end of the month and even-up their debt with the automaker.
Electric cars are coming faster than ever, and the race to build the superior charging network is on. Fortunately, this competition is good for consumers and may help to pave a new future for charging infrastructure of tomorrow.