EU. Audi charging hub in Frankfurt: easy, fast, and without barriers

Smooth-action swivel arm, height-adjustable displays, and ample room between charging points make charging easy for all
Attractive food and service offers at partnering Klassikstadt Frankfurt
New service: support advisors provide virtual guidance from Audi charging hub in Nuremberg
Audi charging hub Frankfurt

Audi opens its sixth charging hub in Frankfurt am Main. At Orber Straße, the drivers of electric cars of all makes can charge their vehicles with up to 320 kW of power using four high-power-charging (HPC) stations. While their car charges, users can have an enjoyable experience at the adjacent Klassikstadt Frankfurt. Audi has partnered up with this enterprise located in a listed historical former factory that boasts an internationally renowned collection of vintage and modern classic cars and offers a range of services. Guests can choose from a wide selection of snacks, beverages, and hot meals and enjoy them in an attractive, comfortable setting. Moreover, all Audi charging hubs are designed to be barrier-free: a swivel arm, for which a patent has been registered, height-adjustable displays, and ample room for maneuvering – in a wheelchair, for example – make charging easy for all, including people with disabilities.

The swivel arm reduces the weight of the charging cable by around 60 percent. As a result, customers in wheelchairs can hold the CCS connector in one hand and move their wheelchair with their other hand. A CCS connector holder further optimizes operation for wheelchair users, while a canopy prevents the connector from getting wet. Furthermore, the swivel arm ensures trouble-free access to any charging sockets, whether they are located at the front, back, left, or right of the vehicle. This saves the driver from having to maneuver their vehicle into position. Automatic cable retraction prevents the charging cable from becoming a trip hazard or from blocking the way of wheelchair users. Moreover, it keeps the cable dry at all times.

“In the Frankfurt metropolitan area, we’ve got a high density of electrically powered vehicles. At the same time, the supply of charging points is constantly increasing. The charging hub is not only a welcome additional charging opportunity, but it also gives users the option to spend the waiting time at the adjacent Klassikstadt building,” says Frankfurt City Councillor Stephanie Wüst, Head of Department for Economic Affairs, Law, and City Marketing. Rapid charging in and around city centers is particularly important for drivers who cannot charge their cars at home or at work, Wüst notes.

Audi is investing in downtown charging. “In Frankfurt, we’re expecting about 5,000 charging operations per year,” says Nikolai Senst, who is responsible for managing the rollout of Audi charging hubs. “We anticipate there will be a similarly high rate of return customers as at the other locations.” In Nuremberg, where Audi has been operating an Audi charging hub with six charging points and a 200-square-meter lounge upstairs since December 2021, the return rate is approximately 70 percent. The hub is available to drivers of all brands of car. Audi customers can book a charging slot online via the myAudi app.

For the charging hub, Audi uses second-life batteries from disassembled test vehicles. As a result, Audi can use the low voltage connection available on site and does not need to install an additional transformer. With temporary storage capacity, a total of about 1.05 megawatt hours of energy is available for the four charging points – enough to hypothetically charge 60 vehicles without interruption.

Easy access for all users
To the left and right of the four charging points, there is ample room for wheelchair users to get around. Vehicle doors can be opened fully there at all times. The swivel arm attached to the upper end of the side wall makes it possible to guide the charging cable to every charging socket on the vehicle with minimal effort. The charging plug is stored in a holder at hip height to which it retracts automatically. “These are very helpful features for us wheelchair users,” says Audi customer Uwe Herrmann, who occasionally has to seek help when filling up his gasoline car. “At the charging hub, I can charge without asking strangers for help.” Moreover, height-adjustable displays make it easier for users to read information on the status and duration during and after the charging process. Audi also inspects the facilities around the Audi charging hub for possible obstacles.

“This not only makes the Audi charging hub the ideal location for people with physical impairments to quickly and conveniently charge their car, but everybody benefits from the barrier-free concept with swivel arm, ample space between charging stations, and height-adjustable displays,” says Audi brand ambassador Gerd Schönfelder, 16-time skiing gold medalist at the Winter Paralympic Games and 14-time world champion. “The swivel arm is a big help for me.” Schönfelder is an arm amputee and drives a model from the Audi Q4 e-tron series with driving aids fitted at the factory. In 2007, Audi became the first automaker to put driving aids in their configurator. “The whole package of fast-charging, comfort and convenience, and price is highly appealing,” adds Schönfelder. At HPC charging points, Audi customers pay from €0.35/kWh depending on their contract.

Virtual tips and support
Following tests in Berlin and Munich, a customer service concept is also being used for the first time in Frankfurt: Specially trained staff provide tips and assistance via camera. The support advisors can check the charging process remotely. If difficulties arise during authentication, they can point out the option of paying by credit card, for example. Audi also offers assistance with setting up Plug & Charge. The service can be accessed via a hotline. “An offer that was very well received during the test phase,” says Nikolai Senst.

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