Published on December 29th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Volkswagen Group Presents Mobile Charging Robot Prototype
One of the biggest hindrances to a true electric mobility revolution is the absence of a robust charging network. Because electric vehicles take a lot longer to ‘fill up’ than a traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicle, it would be more practical to have EVs top up whenever parked.
However, not every car park can easily be equipped with charging outlets. Instead, some are banking on mobile charging units that come to YOUR car rather than your car to it. That’s the working prototype the Volkswagen Group Components are showing this week.
Their Mobile Charging Robot prototype presents a vision of fully autonomous charging on electric vehicles that are equipped with internet connectivity. In an ideal world, Volkswagen Group would equip a car park lot with a bunch of these Mobile Charging Robots. Users of their latest electric vehicles would be able to park their cars at any lot, and let the car sort itself out. The car would be able to connect to the robot’s wifi network and request a charge. The robot would drive itself to the car, the car’s charging port would open and the robot would plug itself into the car and charge it up to the desired amount. All without even having to press a button!
We wonder if this would work out in Malaysia. Would such a device survive the typical degree of ‘casual vandalism’ we see here? Especially when you have so many disgruntled customers looking for a way to take out their anger.
Here’s the press release with more.
Volkswagen Group Components gives us a first glimpse of the prototypes of its mobile charging robot. This is one of the visionary charging concepts that Volkswagen hopes will expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years. Its task: fully autonomous charging of vehicles in restricted parking areas, like underground car parks.
Fully autonomous charging
The charging robot – started via an app or Car-to-X communication – operates totally autonomously. It independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it: from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it. The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement whatsoever. To charge several vehicles at the same time, the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
The business unit is currently working on a complete DC charging family. The flexible quick-charging station will be launched onto the market in early 2021. For several weeks now, the DC wallbox has been trialled at different company’s German production sites. The mobile charging robot has successfully reached prototype status and will now be comprehensively further developed. One of the prerequisites for market maturity is Car-to-X communication to facilitate the autonomous charging process.
In view of the crucial importance of this issue, in future Volkswagen Group Components will be amongst other things responsible for all Volkswagen Group charging activities and charging systems. The intention is to integrate the charging robot into an overall concept that will focus on the long-term success of electric mobility, and thus the electrification of transport.
They enable the operators of parking bays and underground car parks to quickly and simply “electrify” every parking space using the mobile charging robot. This reduces any construction work needed, at the same time reducing the potential cost.