Last year, Audi brought a ton of journalists to California to test out the e-tron, more specifically its charging capabilities. The idea was to drive from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe, with a quick stop for a charge and some lunch in between, so we could see just how far one could reasonably drive an e-tron in a day. Part of the reason for this test specifically was to show off how fast the Audi e-tron could charge.
However, one of the main points Audi made very clear was that fast, convenient charging has more to do with consistency than outright speed. If the car can charge at its highest rate of speed for longer, and do so more consistently, customers will get faster overall charges. While most EVs only charge at their max charging speed for short periods of time, both the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback can charge at their max 150 kW speed for almost the entire duration of the charge.
In ideal conditions, the Audi e-tron siblings can charge at 150 kW from between 5-70 percent state of charged (SOC). The goal with Audi was to be able to, at a fast-charger capable of 150 kW, charge up 110 kilometers of range (around 68 miles) in just ten minutes. Or, to charge from near-flat to 80-percent in 30 minutes. A full charge at one of these stations will take 45 minutes, simply because the last 30-percent needs to charge slower for battery health and longevity.
The key in getting the Audi e-tron to charge so quickly and so consistently is thermal management. As batteries are charged, they get incredibly hot, which makes the charging speed slow down for safety. However, the e-tron has outstanding battery thermal management. Using liquid cooling and a heat pump, Audi is able to keep temps down and charging speeds up for far longer than its competitors. That same thermal management is also why the e-tron (and the Porsche Tacyan, too) is able to perform at its max capacity for longer than its competitors.