When the Audi e-tron first debuted, the Four-Ringed brand made quite a lot of noise about its 150 kW charging capabilities. At the time of its launch, there wasn’t an electric car on the road that could achieve that. The closest any other car got was the 120 kW charging from the Tesla Model S/X. Not to be outdone, though, Tesla recently upped the charging speed for those cars to 150 kW. It also bumped the Model 3’s charging speed to 250 kW but that’s only in a few select areas being beta tested and can only be done on Tesla V3 Superchargers.
What’s more important than all of that, though, is that the Audi e-tron maintains faster charging speed throughout the charge cycle than any other EV by quite a bit. For example, the Audi e-tron can charge at 150 kW from 5-70 percent battery. Afterward, for battery life protection, it tapers off, as all EVs do when charging. That tapering off is designed to protect the life of the lithium-ion battery cells. However, that range of charging is greater than any competitor on the road. Even further still, it continues charging at over 100 kW after it gets to 80-percent battery.
Because of this charging speed, the Audi e-tron can charge 100 kilometers (62 miles) worth of range in just ten minutes and it can reach 80-percent battery in under thirty minutes. That last 20 percent does take longer but that’s a technical limitation of lithium-ion batteries and not an e-tron-specific issue. Still, a full charge can happen in under an hour.
Audi is able to achieve this thanks to advanced thermal cooling for the batteries. Using liquid cooling, the Audi e-tron can keep its batteries between the optimum 25-35 degrees Celsius range, even under high stress or low temperatures. Because of that, the batteries can handle the fast charging for longer. Furthermore, that cooling also allows the e-tron to be driven harder for far longer, allowing multiple 0-60 mph launches without throwing in the towel, like other EVs tend to do.
All of this must be done at a 150 kW-capable charging station, though. At the moment, they are few and far between at best. So it’s a very impressive technical achievement but not entirely usable right now. However, once that sort of charging speed becomes more readily available, the Audi e-tron will be able to take advantage of it and owners will be very pleased.