Charging infrastructure, or the lack thereof, has been a major impediment in more people around the world embracing the electric vehicle technology. Volkswagen Group, which is in the forefront of adopting EV tech across its product range has previewed prototypes of a concept that could solve this issue to an extent.
Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robots will drive themselves to the electric car that needs charging once it is started via an app or Car 2 X communication. From opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug to decoupling – the entire charging process happens occurs without any human interaction.
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. This means you don’t need to search for an electric outlet and turn any parking space into a charging station.
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.
“A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary,” says Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components’ CEO.
With its integrated charging electronics, the energy storage device allows for DC quick charging with up to 50 kW on the vehicle. The robot is fitted with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors, allowing it to carry out the charging process completely autonomously while moving around freely in the parking area, recognising possible obstacles and reacting to these. Depending on the size of the parking area or the underground car park, several charging robots can be employed simultaneously so that several vehicles can be attended to.
Volkswagen hopes this and other similar charging concepts will help the brand expand its charging infrastructure over the next few years.