Having a strong charging network is a huge advantage against rivals in the premium sector.A Audi managed to ensure its access to a huge network, through the partnership with Ionity.
IONITY, Europe’s largest open high-power charging (HPC) network located in 24 countries, is investing 700 million euros in its fast-charging network for electric vehicles. The joint venture in which Audi has a stake will increase the number of high-performance 350 kW charging points from more than 1,500 at present to around 7,000 by 2025. In addition, they are no longer being built only along freeways, but also near major cities and along busy main roads. As a result, the number of charging locations is also increasing significantly – from just under 400 at present to more than 1,000.
In addition, IONITY plans to expand many of the existing locations – depending on their utilization levels. New sites will be designed with six to twelve charging points right from the beginning. This significantly reduces charging and waiting times for users. In addition, the company plans to acquire more of its own land in order to build and operate service stations. Through covered charging stations or complete charging facilities including dining options and stores, IONITY wants to significantly enhance the customer experience.
Audi is a founding member of IONITY and has been a joint venture partner from the very beginning. IONITY’s network of fast-charging stations located throughout Europe is a cornerstone of the e-tron Charging Service, Audi’s own charging service. Using just one charging card, this service currently offers access to more than 280,000 charging points in 26 European countries. In this context, users benefit from preferential terms when using the IONITY network – charging costs only 31 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is roughly equivalent to the cost of charging at home in Germany.
Starting in December 2021, Audi will be offering a particularly premium form of charging exclusively on the IONITY network known as “Plug & Charge” (PnC). This refers to the ability to easily and securely charge an EV without an RFID (radio frequency identification) card or even an app. The authentication process takes place automatically at compatible charging stations via encrypted communication as soon as the charging cable is connected to the vehicle. Then the charging process also starts. And finally, billing is handled automatically on the basis of a contract on file. To use this system, drivers must have a PnC-capable Audi e-tron model (a new model with production date after calendar week 48/2021) and an active e-tron Charging Service contract. Users only need to activate the PnC feature in the myAudi app and in the MMI of their Audi e-tron.