23 Audi employees in a co-working space in Berlin are developing business models that very rarely have anything to do with cars. Eight Audi employees who live in Berlin permanently are supported by 15 other employees visiting in six-month cycles. At the end of the cycle, these employees then return to their original positions and functions at the various company sites. It is the task of the cross-functional teams to implement a verified business model within these six months through customer-focused development and cooperation with start-ups.
The aim of the Denkwerkstatt is to link the company to the start-up and digital scene, to experiment with new methods and, above all, to develop business models and services that will expand or enhance Audi’s vehicle range in the future and that will support the company on its way to becoming a digital car company.
The main focus of the Denkwerkstatt is urban issues that relate to mobility. As well as concepts for the first and last mile, this primarily addresses the issue of how to support electric mobility in an urban environment. For example, the teams work on solutions for flexible and low-cost charging infrastructure and portable energy storage systems using second-life batteries.
The ParkE mobile charging station electrifies private parking spaces without great expense and therefore facilitates access to electric mobility, particularly in cities.
With ParkE, the Audi Denkwerkstatt is taking on one of the most significant everyday challenges that electric car drivers face in the city: a lack of charging infrastructure at home. This is most common in underground parking lots. Electrification of a parking space after it has been built is usually very expensive and often cannot get the required consent from the community of owners or is prevented by official regulations. At the same time, car owners are aware that getting an electric car is out of the question if they are not able to charge it at home. After all, 83 percent of electric car owners confirm that their home is their most important charging point.
ParkE offers a solution for this: The charging station on wheels is a compact and mobile storage device so you can simply push the energy to the car. With a capacity of 25 kWh and a charging capacity of at least 22 kW, ParkE can then supply the car with power. ParkE can be charged using any normal household socket (230 V), for example, in the bicycle storage room.
Thanks to the mobility of the charging station, no structural changes need to be made, meaning consent from other parties is not required. Based on current information, ParkE is to be placed on the market with a leasing offer. ParkE makes it easier for potential customers to access electric mobility without a large initial investment.
ParkE originated as an Audi Denkwerkstatt project. Four employees from different departments at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites had six months to develop their idea from a blank sheet of paper to a finished product and a valid business case.
Audi Battery Pack
Noiseless, emission-free and versatile energy in a case—the Audi battery pack. The exchangeable battery concept enables a form of electric mobility with new degrees of freedom.
Portable, standardized energy storage for a wide range of applications in a red case, containing a BEV battery module for the current Audi e-tron. The plan is to use second-hand charging modules with reduced capacity as soon as they are available in sufficient quantities. The battery does not need to be disposed of for a long time because its storage capacity is still sufficient outside of the car.
The Audi battery pack, with a capacity of 2.6 kWh and a weight of 15 kg, can be chiefly utilized in marine, automotive and DIY activities. But it is also conceivable for the battery pack to be used in professional applications, such as in mobile production plants, the trade and building site sector, and as a “starter battery” for electric cars.
But this concept does not end with the battery pack as a single product. The plan is for the case to be standard for batteries and to provide energy for many electrified devices from the mobility sector, for courier services and in building management. In collaboration with a start-up in Berlin, the team wants to offer “Energy as a Service.” This refers to a large network of battery changing stations where you can pick up a charged red case anywhere at any time and swap it for an empty one. Customers can therefore power their individual applications without having to wait long periods for charging, giving them greater flexibility and freedom.