The brand is preoccupied about recharging the traction battery, automatic and contactless charging and a prospect of Audi wireless charging.
The project leader Dr. Björn Elias says: “We aim to offer our customers a premium-standard recharging method – easy to use and fully automatic, with no mechanical contacts. It uses the induction principle, which is already well known from various products, from the electric toothbrush through the induction cooker hotplate. We are now using it to recharge cars.”
Being in charge with the Audi’s wireless charging pre-development project, Dr. Elias has the task of identifying new trends in the vehicle electronics environment and bringing them up to series production readiness.
An important partner in wireless charging is the American WiTricity Corporation from Watertown, US. This company supplies technical components which are integrated into the vehicle’s complete system, the coil systems. The primary coil is located at the roadside or on the parking lot and the secondary coil is on the underside of the Audi e-tron vehicle.
When the electric vehicle is driven to a point above the primary coil in the road surface, the battery charging process starts automatically. Alternating current in the primary coil generates an alternating magnetic field that crosses the air gap and induces and induces an alternating voltage in the secondary coil on the car. This voltage is rectified and fed to the car’s traction battery. The process terminated when the battery is fully charged or if the recharging process is interrupted by driving the car away or switching it on manually.
This charging technology can be integrated into the traffic infrastructure wherever needed, for instance as garage parking equipment or on housing estates.
Much more work will be necessary before countrywide recharging infrastructures can be built up. Audi is playing an active part as a member of the expert workgroups in Germany and America that are aiming for a uniform public standard. Dr. Elias expects automatic wireless charging technology to go into series production in a few years’ time. With it, electromobility has the potential to take a further big step forward.