A closer look at the VW ID R electric race car’s charging system

Running an electric race car on the Nürburgring Nordschleife is unlike any other vehicle. Volkswagen knows this well and has created a dedicated electric car charging system and charging strategy for its ID R electric race car.

The company detailed how it plans to manage the Green Hell on Thursday, and it includes a lot of testing and data accumulation. The ID R will need to travel about 13 miles on the Nordschleife, which is not a long distance. The challenge, though, is deploying as much energy as possible, especially on the long straightaways. Just like an internal-combustion engine burns gasoline, the faster an electric car goes, the more energy it requires from the battery.

Volkswagen ID R Nürburgring

Volkswagen ID R Nürburgring

VW developed the car’s two battery packs as power-dense units that prioritize power over long-distance driving. The company also developed a unique charging system to ensure the battery packs don’t overheat. Onsite at the ‘Ring are two fast chargers that are essentially generators that run on glycerin and transfer at a rate of about 90 kilowatts each. The relatively low transfer rate is meant to ensure the process produces little heat. Still, the batteries aren’t that large and receive a full charge in about 20 minutes. 

To keep things even cooler, the battery system is also connected to an external air conditioning system while charging. The goal is to keep each module and cell at the optimal temperature to extract the most performance from them on the racetrack. VW said it aims for an ideal battery temperature of about 86 degrees, which requires pre-heating on the first lap, then a cool-down period while the batteries charge.

Volkswagen ID R at Nürburgring

Volkswagen ID R at Nürburgring

Along the way, the regenerative braking system will supply 10 percent of the ID R’s needed power. Carefully testing and looking at where Romain Dumas, the driver, will need to maximize energy recuperation is key for a successful lap.

The VW ID R will tackle the ‘Ring in an attempt to set a new electric car lap record this summer. To walk away victorious, Dumas will need to clock a time better than the 6:45.9 achieved by the Nio EP9.

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