Can a vehicle be charged with lightning? Not yet, but the future production version of the Audi e-tron prototype can charge up to 150 kW of electricity at quick charging stations.
Dancing flash of light and pulsating brizzle above the car roof: the Faraday cage of the Siemens high-voltage test facility in Berlin measures 42 x 32 x 25 m. In the world's largest production facility for switching technology, a team of electricians and engineers is researching a lightning impulse voltage of up to three million V. The parabolic hall, built in 1958, houses a high-voltage surge generator for this purpose. Right in the middle: the Audi e-tron prototype. A flash of light dances over the car roof with a pulsating prickling sound and illuminates the 25 m high hall. The experts directed a voltage flashover at the vehicle.
DC charging up to 150 kW
This experiment symbolizes a millennia-old dream of mankind: the capture of lightning and the use of its energy. Although it is still not possible to charge an electric car with a flash, engineers are already one step closer to the vision of lightning-fast charging. The production version of the Audi e-tron prototype is the first car on the market to charge up to 150 kW.
At quick charging stations with the European charging standard Combined Charging System (CCS), for example in the Ionity network, the e-tron prototype is ready for the next long-distance stage in less than half an hour. The basis for this is the complex thermal management of the lithium-ion battery. Placed in the car floor, it stores 95 kWh of energy and thus enables a range of more than 400 km in the WLTP test procedure. By the end of 2018 there will be almost 200 such high-power charging stations in Europe, each with six charging points. By 2020, 400 locations are planned along motorways and main traffic axes, each 120 km away.