The Audi's e-Tron Got Electric Car Charging Right – And Other Cars Haven't



When charging an electric car from a rapid charging station, the latter part of the charge always takes a lot longer than the first bit.

That’s because of basic battery chemistry — and the need to keep battery packs healthy and operating safely.

But Audi’s e-tron SUV doesn’t charge like other electric cars out there. It’s capable of higher-power charging until it’s almost full. Here’s how Audi’s charging cycle is possible, why it’s the right methodology for electric car charging in general — and why other automakers should follow Audi’s lead.

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49 Replies to “The Audi's e-Tron Got Electric Car Charging Right – And Other Cars Haven't”

  1. Carbon Motors

    Absolutely agree about Audi's charging strategy being better! Charging time is relevant for usability. In the near future building would be able to exchange electricity with cars and drivers would not notice that they need to charge. Of course if the speed at which that happens is higher. In fact, in Norway there are buildings that get a charge from EV cars during working hours while the cars are parked. FULLY CHARGED have a story on that. The charging speed is relevant for in-city driving and even more for out of city charging. Thanks for the video!

  2. bence sas

    I think battery capacity shouldn't be hidden. The car should inform it's driver, and recommend to them that the car shall be charged only to 80% most of the time. The car should display the time it takes to get to full and then the percentage the car charged so far in that amount of time.

  3. David of Yorkshire

    If anyone technical is reading. Why not charge high speed capacitors extremely rapidly, and if they are driving immediately discharge from them, or if not used discharge into the battery for later use. This extends the life of the battery as it does not charge the battery when it's going to called for by the vehicle immediately, shortens the charging time, because capacitors can charge extremely rapidly, and can also enable smoother battery discharge through the capacitors. The trick will be balancing capacitor usage with battery management to retain as much of the charge as possible before capacitor leakage, and clever battery management to get as much out of the capacitors as possible before calling on battery power. Just as there are banks of small batteries to make up the huge battery capacity, their would need to be banks if capacitors to mirror battery levels, just capable of rapid charging and controlled discharge. Even if these capacitor banks only cover 10%-50% the battery capacity wouldn't this drastically reduce charging times and solve this issue?

    Is there a reason why this wouldn't work? Is there a theoretical limit to the speed of charging due to demand?

  4. cordawg89

    Most Li ion batteries taper at 80%, the CCCV charge algorithm isn’t going to change just stops early. It’s not healthy to store batteries at 100% charge but if you are immediately discharging after then it’s fine. It is probably more time efficient to cut the charge at 80% and move onto the next station but let the user make that decision

  5. Laurence Jenner

    Sorry Nikki, you’re quite wrong on this one. The Audi etron is an inefficient poor first effort that should not be the gold standard for anything. I’d rather buy a Model 3 SR+ with a 55kWh battery and 400km of range than an etron with a 95kWh battery and barely 350km range.

  6. Steven Theisen

    Too much Audi hate. I drive in excess of 200 miles in a day, twice per year at most. Let's remember as EV enthusiasts, we all wake up with a full battery each morning, so 204 miles is completely adequate for most people year-round 97% of the time. Reserve a gasser if you want to do a road trip, Tesla charging is still not there for road trip overall time. If you're traveling 1,000 miles, you're adding a lot of charging time. Until everything is upgraded to V3 supercharging anyway.

    For in-state travel, any 200+ mile EV is completely adequate. Audi makes a beautiful vehicle, imo.

  7. ferkeap

    I hope audi won't keep this idea for them.
    It wastes allot of range.

    They could introduce a range update.

    The charge curve also has to be explained simply, on the 'filler-cap' for example.

  8. double0prime

    As a chemist. The Audi e-tron charging is not good on the long run for battery capacity. Just look at the charging graphs, any electrical engineer will tell you that what Audi is doing is not only easy to do but not the right way of doing it. That is of course if you care about making a good product. This is why Tesla is league ahead of the competition. Elon is an actual engineer and understands the physics to make the best car possible not just some marketing gimmick

  9. Mark Duncombe

    I am with Nikki on the Audi. In the UK, typical average journey speeds are 40-50mph, even with a motorway when you include the non-motorway bits at either end. So 200 miles takes 4 hours. After 4 hours (if not sooner) most normal people would need a comfort break and have to or want to stop. If you have to stop then you might as well charge and if you are charging then you want to be charging as fast as possible during said comfort break, preferably 150KW and with very little rate drop off. This makes total sense, I can't and don't want to go 500 miles without stopping. Having owned an EV for a few years now the best charge is the charge that happens while you are doing something else. When vehicle range exceeds bladder range (reduces with age) then charging speed becomes more important than outright range.

  10. W G

    I think customers should have choices and the manufacturer should just make the customers aware of the impact of those choices. Sometimes, you might actually want or need to use that extra capacity and should be allowed as long as it doesn't break the battery. I don't need my hand held to show me how to charge.. let me decide, I am the one doing the road-tripping.

  11. JAMFUTUBE

    After 15 minutes, you can drive ~100 miles further with a Model 3 LR. That stays like that for another 20 minutes. If someone wants to cover the most distance in the shortest time, they'll go with the Model 3. If they have a bladder range of 300 miles or less, they are better of with the Model 3.

  12. Eddie Gardner

    For either of these vehicles, this kind of charging only matters for longer trips. IF you primarily use the vehicle as a daily driver, and charge at home, either charging profile works just fine, and range isn't an issue. You can run your battery in the constant-current part of the cell's charging curve and extend its lifetime well into the next decade. Not too many people are going to have a 350KW charger in their house anyway, or need one to charge up to 200 miles of range onboard overnight.

  13. Summer Tyme

    Lol. Claim 95KWH – but only allow charging to 80, and then brag about how fast you charge to 100%. [of 80KWH]
    This is false advertising and I would say shame on you for congratulating a company for it, but maybe you are not actually bright enough to understand that this is a scam?

  14. Jon Jennings

    Considering most Audi drivers haven't figured out what those flashy yellow lights are for on the front and back of their cars, it's probably a good idea.
    For those of us with higher IQ's that your average Normal For Norfolk person, like people from Suffolk for example, then the option to manage your own battery charge state is a good thing.

  15. jerry kurata

    For those that say consumers don't want to think about percentage to charge then there is always the Tesla option. They come out the factory set to 90% max charge. An owner could just drive their whole ownership with the default setting. And when they plugged into a Supercharger or at home charging would stop at 90%. This has less impact on battery life and far less charge rate tapering then charging from 90-100%.

  16. Stefan Weilhartner

    regarding the charging speed the e-tron is nice. regarding the battery tech the e-tron is old tech. they use cells with about 200Wh/kg. but that is the strategy from VW. they want to have multiple cell suppliers to compete for the price. if they would use state of the art 250Wh/kg they would have to pay much more per kWh.
    the only problem with the audi e-tron that i have (beside that i can not afford one) is the bad fuel efficiency. they do not have state of the art technology in it.
    and especially in germany this does not make sense at all because the price for electricity is very high there. so with an audi e-tron you don't save money on the long run compared to diesel suv.
    the numbers for the VW ID3 however look promising and are below 15kWh per 100km which is a good number. but on the other side it is limited to only 160km/h and the numbers are not real world numbers.
    so in my case i have to wait for the ID3 or Seat Elborn with the big battery and the higher performance to switch to an electric car. until then i will drive my 10 year old diesel stinker.

  17. Onoff314

    You've really never gone wrong on this channel but i'm not sure how Audi's marketing got to you so easily. No other electric car company has this kind of false advertising about battery charging tapering off. They just give you the full use of the battery. Charge any of them to 80% (more range than an E-tron) and you will also be charging fast

  18. Edit W

    If you’re saying that the last 10-20% of capacity takes much longer to charge so it’s made unavailable to the user then this is a very silly argument and a feature, at the expense of range. Why would you not make the full range available and let the user charge to 80-90% if they're in a hurry. What about cases when time is not relevant like overnight charging prior to a long trip?

    Wrong direction

  19. J Tait

    General rule of thumb with 2018 leaf take the current state of charge and subtract that from 100 and that will tell you what to expect from the charging unit
    ie if you are at 80% charge you will probably be limited by the BMS to charging at less than 20Kw/h

  20. creativehumanconcept

    I do not agree, with you, especially for roadtrips. You need to be able to get to 90 % or 100% (on a level 2 charger) for a short period of time before leaving so that you can get the max range out of your vehicule. Espacially when you are using a car that doesn’t have acces to Superchargers. Still happy to see that Audi fanboys will be able to experience e-driving. To me this limiting access to the complete battery pack says that they are very cautious with the degradation of their batteries. Looking forward to the release of the Porsche Taycan.

  21. Andrew Plummer

    I would much rather myself choose what level I can charge the car battery up to, i.e. 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% etc. and not have the car manufacturer dictate to me what I can charge the car battery up to… and thus forcibly truncate my range when I may need to go just that little bit further on that one particular charge…

  22. Thomas Dalebring

    Just got my e-tron. Never had an EV. Went for my first long trip with IONITY charging and did not even have time to go to the restroom and eat a salad before it was full again. As you said, UX wins as I will do my charging at home 95% of the time… Edit: I agree with many other comments if I would go for a 2000 km drive, but then I would take the other car or wait for range and charging speed to evolve.

  23. Nigel Weir

    Good argument but , as Audi new on the scene , overall range way off Tesla by next year tesla will have 400 miles on their new variants and a 200 mile range ev that can charge slightly quicker will be hard to justify

  24. Bruce Randell

    Please can the EV world stop comparing %battery to charge speeds. It's all meaningless. Range/min are an absolute number that we can compare. 50% of a 200mi range is different from 50% of 370mi as an example.
    Nikki, add some distance in your analysis and see if your thesis remains the same. I'd be very interested. In fact, please compare the E-Tron 10mi to 204mi to say M3LR 10mi to 204mi. OK, unfair, maybe try 10mi to 180mi instead. I'd love to hear your take.

  25. Martin Menge

    That last bit of the charge will eventually be pushed into super-capacitors, which will in turn continue charging the battery at a slower rate once you drive away from the charging station. I suspect that Tesla's acquisition of Maxwell might bring this concept closer to reality. Where this becomes really exciting is with in-transit charging of some kind. Something like a siding on the highway, a charging lane maybe a kilometre long every 50 -100km. No need to slow down, just take the siding to get another 100km of range.

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