Audi's E-Tron, Social Currency and LED Swings
Tesla has been a long established competitor in the EV market, aiming at the luxury end of the spectrum, for some time now. However, Audi’s new E-Tron has a fighting chance at challenging that title.
Scheduled to be released in the US in mid 2019, the battery electric SUV boasts a 95kWh battery that can charge up to 80% in just half an hour. On top of that, up to 30% of the E-Tron’s range comes from its regenerative braking, making it even more efficient. For more details on the car’s features, Inside EV’s article has some useful insights.
Alongside their new vehicle release, Audi unveiled their new design for a charging station, somewhat reminiscent of traditional petrol stations in the UK. However, this is a significant step up from the usual vending machine sandwich dispensers of old. The charging station is equipped with multiple rapid charging ports to ‘fill up’ EVs quickly. Any electric vehicle would be able to charge at an ‘Electrify America’ station, but E-Tron buyers will receive 1000kWh of charging for free.
The key selling point of these stations, however, is the appeal of spending your half hour wait in a luxury rest stop. The initial station serves as a demonstration from Audi of EV technology, with ‘social currency’ being used to enjoy its extensive amenities. This means that visitors receive a special wristband that allocates them credit based on how much they share their experience on social media. They can then spend time perusing high tech experiences like kinetic energy capture and ‘LED swings’.
In reality, it looks as though these stations will come equipped with a cafe, widescreen TV, and likely free wifi and charging ports for devices; This could encourage ICE drivers who are concerned about the wait times for charging to consider going electric. Could this high tech exhibition become the norm for roadside stations in the UK? If the adoption of EVs continues to grow rapidly, then similar instalments could become prevalent throughout the country to provide sufficient public charging.