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Audi takes aim at competitors over electric car charging time, won't 'chase headlines'

Audi is touting the cooling system in its soon-to-arrive e-tron SUV as the key to fast electric charging.

Ahead of the launch of Audi’s long-awaited EV SUV, the e-tron, the brand has taken aim at rivals over charging time claims.

Audi said there is much more to the story than just maximum DC charging capacity, stating that even with its e-tron's lower-than-some-rivals charge capacity of 150kW, the new all-electric SUV will still get to a maximum charge faster than many of its rivals.

Speaking to Australian media, Audi representatives pointed out that overall charging speed is a better measurement than charging capacity when it comes to EVs - especially with numbers like 350kW being thrown around by some charge providers.

With 150kW max DC charging capacity, the e-tron has a “unique charging curve”, allowing it to fill its 95kWh battery with a DC terminal from five-100 per cent in just 45 minutes. This is faster than the Mercedes-Benz EQC (max charge capacity of 110kW, taking 1hr 22 minutes to a full 80kWh charge) for example, and is able to achieve this through not only a higher kW input, but also a unique cooling system which Audi says keeps the battery cells at an optimum temperature.

The brand said charge input is ultimately limited by a thermal bottleneck, so while some rivals may be able to charge faster initially, they will have to slow down over time for an overall longer charging cycle.

The Audi on the other hand uses 22 litres of coolant over 40 meters of coolant hoses, which is active during 150kW charging, and utilises a special thermal glue or gel between the battery cells to keep temperatures “between 25-35 degrees celsius” to prevent a thermal bottleneck.

The e-tron is said to be able to charge 110km of range in 10 minutes at 150kW and has a claimed power efficiency rating of 26.4kWh/100km according to the WLTP standard. Range at a full charge is claimed to be 446km and maximum power outputs are 300kW/664Nm.

While Audi's claims may be sound for now, it remains to be seen how the Porsche Taycan stacks up against it in reality, as the Taycan will have an 800-volt battery (most rivals including the e-tron are 400V) claimed to accept 270kW of charge capacity for a five-80 per cent charge in just 22.5 minutes. It will accept 100km of charge in just five minutes, although will require an 800-volt specific DC charging station to do so.

It is worth noting that DC charging in Australia is still very limited, with only a handful of public charging stations providing more than 50kW at peak power.

The e-tron will also possess an onboard AC converter with a marginally higher charge rate than the Mercedes-Benz EQC (7.2kW), Jaguar I-Pace (7kW), Hyundai Kona (7.2kW), and Nissan Leaf (6.6kW) with 11kW, making for much faster charging times at public AC terminals which are often capable of delivering up to 22kW. Audi said at 11kW the e-tron will charge in “just under nine hours”.

The brand announced it will also introduce an optional second 22kW on-board charger later in the year making maintenance charging a much more viable solution over short periods like visits to shopping hubs.

While the e-tron sits on VW group’s MLB architecture, future e-tron family products are expected to share their technology and underpinnings with VW Group’s latest MEB platform which will underpin the parent company’s line of I.D. electric vehicles.

The Q4 e-tron SUV is expected to be the brand’s follow-up EV SUV residing on VW Group electric technology.

Audi is set to announce official pricing and specification for the e-tron shortly, so stay tuned for more on its Australian arrival.

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