Volkswagen develops mobile robot to charge your EV
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With electric vehicles being more common in our world today, ensuring the charging infrastructure is up to par can be quite a challenge. While some parking lots have charging stations put in place for vehicle owners to use, ensuring there are sufficient stations can be a challenge in terms of complexity and cost. In some scenarios, the location just doesn’t allow conventional charging stations to be installed at all.
Volkswagen is looking to provide a solution with an autonomous mobile charging robot that is operated via an app or V2X communication. When activated, the entire charging process, from the opening of the charging socket flap to connecting the plug to decoupling, occurs without any human interaction.
“The mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities, such as multistorey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around. With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures,” said Mark Möller, head of development at Volkswagen Group Components.
Aside from being equipped with V2X technology, the robot is equipped with an array of camera, laser scanner and ultrasonic sensors to support its autonomous function. In operation, the mobile robot brings a trailer in the form of a mobile energy storage device (called battery wagons) to the vehicle and connects them to the vehicle.
The device stays with the vehicle during the entire charging process, while the robot is free to service other vehicles that require charging. Several units can be moved by the robot at the same time before being returned to a smaller, dedicated charging station when the charging process is completed.
Each battery wagon has an energy content of around 25 kWh and supports DC quick charging of up to 50 kW. Think of it like having a (rather large) power bank for your car, except there’s an automated robot to help plug it in for you.
“This approach has an enormous economic potential. The constructional work as well as the costs for the assembly of the charging infrastructure can be reduced considerably through the use of the robots,” said Möller.
“Even the well-known problem of a charging station being blocked by another vehicle will no longer exist with our concept. You simply choose any parking space as usual. You can leave the rest to our electronic helper,” he added.