A Visionary Take on Charging your EV
Volkswagen provides a glimpse into the future in which the search for charging stations for electric cars will come to an end. The Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robot will take over this task – and will drive itself to the electric car completely autonomously.
We all know how difficult it is to find parking in crowded areas. Now what if you need to charge your electric vehicle; and what if all of the the charging stations are occupied? Volkswagen has an innovative and visionary plan that involves ROBOTS.
After the it is started using an app, the mobile charging robot drives itself to the vehicle that needs charging and communicates with it. From beginning to end the entire charging process occurs without any human interaction. The robot does everything from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug to decoupling. The mobile robot brings 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 and the robot 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.
“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”, summarises Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components. “It’s a visionary prototype, which can be made into reality quite quickly, if the general conditions are right”, Möller continues.
Volkswagen Group Components is researching different approaches 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 center of the research. Other innovative products such as the charging robot are currently being developed.
The charging robot 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, 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 which not only allows the robot to carry out the charging process without human assistance but also to move around freely in the parking area and to recognize possible obstacles. Several charging robots can be employed simultaneously in larger structures so that several vehicles can be taken care of at the same time.
Every car parking area can become a flexible charging point
The autonomous 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 and stationary charging station. Drivers have the choice to park in any available space in the lot and charge their vehicle. The robot brings the charging station in the form of a mobile energy storage device directly to the vehicle. For operators of different parking structures this is a quick and easy solution to electrify every parking space. “This approach has an enormous economic potential”, says Möller. “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.”
The compact design of the charging robot is perfect for use in small or cramped parking areas without charging infrastructures, such as underground car parks, as well.
Möller continues: “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.”
While not available yet, Timmons Volkswagen Long Beach is excited that VW is pioneering the drive to make our lives easier!