Audi Centre Centurion, part of the award-winning Autohaus Group, has introduced a world-first home-based solar charging solution for Audi e-tron customers.
Announced at a client function at the dealership in Gauteng on 22 August, the new solution uses smart charging solar technologies from Germany’s SMA Solar Technology with local installation support by their South African partners, ANH Technologies.
The charging solution includes various technologies that are packaged together for smart, seamless and flexible home charging of Audi’s newest all-electric range.
“Our new solar charging solution for e-tron customers represents the culmination of many months of planning and preparation to make sure that it is perfectly compatible with our Audi e-tron range and with the various use cases and operating demands of our e-tron customers,” says Peter Preusse, Audi Centre Centurion’s Managing Director.
The launch of Audi Centre Centurion’s solar charging solution coincided with the dealership’s own transformation to solar charging for its e-tron fleet.
The transformation started with a comprehensive energy audit by ANH Technologies, which comprised the installation of an SMA Data Manager, SMA Energy Meter and a link to SMA’s proprietary Sunny Portal monitoring system.
Using the information from this initial energy audit, ANH Technologies and SMA designed a solar charging system for Audi Centre Centurion that has a 50kW peak load, an intelligent energy management system that caps peak load usage and limits the power drawn from the municipal grid and a smart e-tron charging station that can charge two vehicles simultaneously with solar power alone.
“We are leading by example by not only offering a solar home-charging solution to customers of our e-tron range, but we’re also adopting a similar solar charging solution at our world class facilities in Centurion.
“That means that customers could easily charge their e-tron on solar power alone, by supplementing their at-home charging with charging at our dealership when required,” says Preusse.
Says Jeurgen Reinert, SMA Solar Technology CEO: “In Europe, owning an electric car is not novel anymore and many people are switching to all-electric motoring. With our range of smart charging technologies and with forward-thinking partners such as Audi Centre Centurion, it is only a matter of time before it becomes more commonplace in South Africa as well.”
The SMA Solar Technology’s electric vehicle (EV) charging station, which ANH has installed at Audi Centre Centurion, uses radio frequency ID cards (RFID) to allow for touchless authentication and administration of vehicle charging.
Moreover, the system allows for two modes, a RED fast-charging mode for the most rapid battery charge possible, and a GREEN eco-charging mode that optimises battery health and solar energy over a longer charging period.
In contrast to the solar charging system at Audi Centre Centurion, the unique at-home solution offers a peak power delivery of up to 7.4 kW, which is close to twice the peak power output of conventional wall charging boxes.
The system is linked to a phone-based app that offers real-time charging reports and different charging modes.
These modes allow e-tron owners to select solar optimised charging, forecast-based charging (based on the driver’s schedule and time of day) and fast-charging, which allows for additional power supplementation through the standard electric grid.
Included in the home-based charging solution is an SMA Sunny Tripower Smart Energy hybrid inverter, a 3-phase 22kW EV charger, a 10kWh residential battery for energy storage and an SMA Home Manager that allows for power management and monitoring through the SMA App. Installation is taken care of by ANH Technologies.
“The home-charging system has been designed to offer the most efficient and fuss free charging environment. We have also designed it to be completely future proof, which means that you can easily upgrade the system to add more electric vehicles or even your entire home to the solar charging solution,” says Andreas Wagner, CEO of ANH Technologies.