Audi seeks charging network allies

Audi plans an electric vehicle powered by one electric motor for the front wheels and two for the rear. The e-tron quattro concept, above, offered a preview at the Frankfurt auto show.

LOS ANGELES — Audi AG, which plans to launch an all-electric crossover with a 300-mile range in 2018, has initiated talks with U.S. and German automakers about a shared network of 150-kilowatt fast chargers to rival the Superchargers that Tesla Motors Inc. has built for its Model S and Model X.

Audi’s forthcoming four-seat EV will be powered by one electric motor for the front wheels and two for the rear. It was previewed in September at the Frankfurt auto show with the e-tron quattro concept.

The top-of-the-line model will have a 95-kilowatt-hour battery pack, and with a 150-kW charger, it could be recharged to 80 percent full in 30 minutes, Siegfried Pint, Audi’s electric-powertrain chief, told reporters last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Together with German and American rivals, Pint said, “We will come up with a charging infrastructure in the U.S. and Europe at least, with the same plug.”

Tesla has offered to let vehicles from competitors use its Superchargers, which are free for Tesla owners, if automakers pay their share of the costs. That may seem tempting, as Tesla has built 554 stations around the world with 3,161 chargers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, China and Australia.

Pint said Audi isn’t interested because Tesla uses a proprietary charging standard rather than the SAE Combo2 plug preferred by most automakers.

At this point, Audi is only in the conversation stage, Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, told reporters. It hasn’t decided how to set up a network. Yet the company seems determined to use common chargers.

“It would be naive for everyone to invest in building their own little world,” Keogh said. “It would be inefficient, expensive and not a smart way to go from a consumer point of view.”

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