Published on December 29th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair0
VW Make Robots That Come Charge Your Electric Car
In the shift away from fossil fuel, one of the largest hurdles is putting the infrastructure in place to ensure everybody can charge their cars. The traditional way of thinking would have owners or building managers installing charging facilities at individual parking bays. But Now an arm of Volkswagen (called Volkswagen Group Components) have a new concept being worked on. There’s no fancy name for it yet, but it’s essentially mobile robots that autonomously find their way to your car to charge it up.
This whole system depends on vehicles that are connected to the internet. These mobile robots will collect one or multiple 25 kWh power banks from a central charging station, bring it to a car that requires charging and will communicate with that vehicle to connect to its charging port. Once the car has been charged, the mobile robot moves on the next electric car that needs charging. If the power bank runs out of juice, the mobile robot heads back to the central charging station and collects a new one.
It’s quite a neat system. Let’s hope people are friendly to these robots.
Volkswagen Group Components presents a new and visionary charging concept. Mobile robots will charge electric vehicles completely autonomously in future. Every parking space can become a charging point.
Volkswagen provides a glimpse into the future in which the search for charging stations for electric cars comes to an end. Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robot takes over this task – and drives to the electric car completely autonomously. 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.
Charging infrastructure comes to the car
Autonomous, compact and flexible
The prototype consists of a compact, self-driving robot as well as flexible and agile 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. When called via 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.
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 can be attended to.
Every parking lot can become a flexible charging point
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. The robot brings the charging station in the form of a mobile energy storage device directly to the vehicle. For operators of different parking facilities this is a quick and easy solution to electrify every parking space.
The compact design of the charging robot is perfectly suited for use in restricted parking areas without charging infrastructures, such as underground car parks.
The mobile charging robot is a prototype by Volkswagen Group Components, which gives an insight into the future of charging infrastructure. A possible date for the market launch of the charging robot has not been set yet.