Titelbild IONITY

On your charging stations, get set, go!

How IONITY enables electric mobility for long distance travel

Bye bye, worries about charging! By the year 2020, IONITY will establish a high-power charging network with around 400 high-performance fast-charging stations around main traffic arteries in Europe. But where will the poles stand and which power will feed them? Audi blog author Stefanie Lackner found out more and charged up her knowledge – together with Anno Mertens, Audi project lead for the subject of fast charging.

Audi Blog-Autorin Stefanie Lackner führt Interview mit Experten für Elektromobilität, Anno Mertens
An electrifying look into the future: Anno Mertens, project manager responsible for the subject of fast charging at Audi, gave Audi Blog author Stefanie Lackner an overview of the joint venture IONITY.

Mr. Mertens, did you already charge today?

Mertens: Indeed, because I drive an Audi A3 e-tron. And do you want to know something? The first all-electric Audi is already on my wish list.


Which means that, in comparison to many customers, you don’t have the so-called “range anxiety” – i.e. worrying about the range of your future electric car

Mertens: No, these concerns are unfounded. Alongside our first all-electric model, the Audi e-tron, we’re not only bringing charging solutions into the homes, but a charging infrastructure on the way. We anticipated that although the Audi e-tron is a long-distance electric car, a reliable charging network is needed, so our customers can use the car as their preferred car. IONITY is an important step for customers and manufacturers.

Audi Ringe an Kühlergrill vor Ladesäule Strom

Every fast-charging IONITY station will accomodate six charging poles and use the official European charging standard "Combined Charging System" (CCS).

What’s so special about IONITY?

Mertens: IONITY is more than just a quick charging station – several competitors are cooperating in this manufacturer-independent joint venture to make electric mobility a success. Until now, a short stop on the motorway was not sufficient to fully charge the battery, because there wasn’t an existing network with high charging power. So, we had to take measures. Together with BMW, Daimler and Ford, the Volkswagen Group founded the IONITY joint venture with Audi and Porsche in November 2017. It’s the first pan-European high-power charging network.

How does IONITY work?

Mertens: IONITY looks for partners in European countries with attractive locations on major traffic routes and motorways – typical places where drivers make a stop during long distance travel. They are working together with cooperation partners such as “Tank & Rast”, “SHELL”, “OMV”, “MRH” or “Circle K.”. The goal is clear: To set up and operate 400 rapid charging stations by 2020. These will be open to the public and stand about 120 kilometers apart. The first IONITY quick charging station in Germany is already being used, it is located on the A61 between Cologne and Koblenz.

The charging stations’ design embodies innovation and performance. Do the charging stations also convince in terms of technology?

Mertens: That’s out of question. The high-power charging network is built technologically future-proof. Each quick charging station has six charging stations. IONITY uses the open European charging standard “Combined Charging System” (CCS). The first all-electric Audi will be able to charge at 150 kW. We are the first manufacturer to bring such a charging capacity into mass production. Under these conditions, the car is ready for the next long haul in just 30 minutes. And that’s not all: The charging stations are built future-proof, meaning that charging with up to 350 kW will be technically possible in the future.

Sticker 150 kW
How can Audi customers benefit from IONITY? Through the Audi-owned charging service, the e-tron Charging Service. In time with the market launch, e-tron customers will receive access to around 80 percent of all public charging stations in Europe.

Just a curious thought: Let’s say I have to charge the battery of my electric car at an IONITY station on my way from Berlin to Vienna. How do I proceed?

Mertens: It’s very simple. During the car’s purchase, the Audi customer receives a card for the e-tron Charging Service. The customer then needs to hold the card to the pillar and thus initiates the charging process – the payment will be made digitally with the bank account stored in the individual’s account in the myAudi Portal. In future, thanks to Plug & Charge, the customer will only have to plug the charging cable into the car. There won’t be a need for a card, because the car automatically connects with the loading pillar – super comfortable and easy.

And where does IONITY get the electricity from?

Mertens: The joint venture has set itself the goal of using as much renewable energy as possible. In order to operate most of the fast charging stations in Europe with green electricity, IONITY works specifically with local energy suppliers.

IONITY lends power to electric cars in Europe. How does Audi support electric drivers outside Europe?

IONITY Ladesäule symbolisch vor Europakarte
IONITY is the first pan-european high-power charging network.

Mertens: Customers’ charging requirements vary from country to country. The requirements in the USA and in Canada hardly differ from those in Europe. Customers there also want to travel long distances in their “battery electric vehicle” (BEV for short). With “Electrify America”, we are setting up a high-performance charging infrastructure within the VW Group. In China, however, the situation is different. Hardly any customer there wants to drive from Beijing to Shanghai by car. Although there are long distances between Chinese metropolises, the requirements for the charging infrastructure are different.

Aside from IONITY: What are the next goals Audi wants to reach in terms of electromobility and infrastructure?

Mertens: Audi will use its own new charging service, the e-tron Charging Service, to give e-tron customers access to around 80 percent of all public charging stations in Europe at market launch. Regardless if AC or DC charging, whether 11 or 150 kW. Overall, there will be probably around 65,000 charging points during market launch. It’s a fact: We are in the process of transformation. We must therefore rethink. Now it is important to think beyond the vehicle. There’s no way around it in the age of electric mobility. The car is still an elementary component in the system – but more and more are being added. One example for that is the connectivity between the vehicle, houses and energy networks – that’s where we have to think above the car to create added value for our customers.

Mr. Mertens, thank you very much for the electrifying conversation.

IONITY – Pan-European High-Power Charging Network Enables E-Mobility for Long Distance Travel
Audi MediaCenter

IONITY – Pan-European High-Power Charging Network Enables E-Mobility for Long Distance Travel

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Consumption and emission figures of vehicles on this page:

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron: Fuel consumption according to ECE standard in l/100 km: 1.8 – 1.6; Combined energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 12.0 – 11.4; Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 40 – 36.  Figures on the fuel consumption and the CO2-emissions vary in case of given ranges depending on the used combination of wheels/tires. // www.audi.de/DAT-Hinweis