Volkswagen is working on robots that come and charge your electric car, without lifting a hand.
The prototype consists of a compact, self-driving robot and energy storage devices, known as battery wagons — with a capacity of about 25kWh.
Called via app or V2X communication, the robot brings the battery wagon to the electric vehicle and connects them autonomously.
From opening the charging socket flap, to connecting the plug, to decoupling – the entire charging process occurs without any human intervention.
A charging robot can move several battery wagons at the same time.
With its integrated charging electronics, the energy storage device allows for DC quick charging with up to 50kW.
The robot, which can drive autonomously, is fitted with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors.
The combination of these systems not only allows the robot to carry out the charging process completely autonomously, but also to move around freely in the parking area, to recognise possible obstacles and to react 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.
The mobile battery wagon stays with the vehicle during the entire charging process.
The robot, meanwhile, is able to move on and charge 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 mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities, such as multi-storey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around,” Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components, Mark Moller, said.
“With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures.
“It’s a visionary prototype, which can be made into reality quite quickly, if the general conditions are right.”
Volkswagen is researching different approaches to the assembly of charging infrastructure and has already developed several successful products.
The flexible quick charging station and DC wall boxes are already part of a future charging family.
Customer-oriented, intelligent and flexible approaches to charging are at the centre of the research.
Other innovative products such as the charging robot are currently being developed.
The mobile charging robot can be put to use in various ways.
It isn’t just a robot arm that connects a car to a fixed charging station.
Instead, drivers have the choice to park in any available space, independent of whether a charging station is free or not.
For operators of different parking facilities this is a quick and easy solution to electrify every parking space.
Moller said mobile energy storage devices have 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,” he said.
“The compact design of the charging robot is perfectly suited for use in restricted parking areas without charging infrastructures, such as underground car parks.
“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.”
The mobile charging robot is a prototype that provides an insight into the future of charging infrastructure.
A possible date for the market launch of the charging robot has not been set yet.
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