Volkswagen has let open a little window for a sneak peek into the future of what EV (electric vehicle) charging can look like. The new concept involving an adorable robot seems to eliminate the issue of a car blocking the charging station in an underground car park if the owner takes long to return to it. Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robot will take over the job of bringing the charger to the car autonomously. All you do is drive into a car park and before you leave to tend your business, alert the robot through the smartphone application so it knows your car needs charging – rest will be handled by the Mobile Charging Robot.
After it is started via app or V2X communication, the mobile robot drives itself to the vehicle that needs charging and communicates with it. From opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug to decoupling – the entire charging process occurs without any human interaction.
The highlight: the mobile robot brings a trailer in the form of a mobile energy storage device to the vehicle and connects them; it then uses this energy storage device to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The mobile energy storage device stays with the vehicle during the whole charging process. The robot, in the meantime, charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service is complete, the robot collects the energy storage device and brings it back to the charging station.
The prototype consists of a compact, self-driving robot as well as energy storage devices, also known as battery wagons. When fully charged, these are equipped with an energy content of around 25 kWh each. A charging robot can move several battery wagons at the same time.
Watch Volkswagen Mobile Charging Robot in action below:
When called via the app or V2X communication, it brings the energy storage device to the electric vehicle and connects them both autonomously. With its integrated charging electronics, the energy storage device allows for DC quick charging with up to 50 kW on the vehicle.
A possible date for the market launch of the charging robot has not been set yet. Together with its dealers, VW is installing a total of 36,000 charging points throughout Europe by 2025. A large proportion of these will be publicly available. Volkswagen is also launching its own wallbox for home charging called the ID.Charger.
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