Volkswagen has given the first glimpse of its mobile charging robot that could revolutionalise the charging of electric vehicles.
The prototype robot has been built by Volkswagen Group Components, a division of the German car giant, and is designed to make the charging of electric vehicles easier and more convenient, especially in restricted parking areas such as car parks.
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.
The robot can charge several vehicles at the same time, too. It 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, while 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.
It means that in theory every car parking space in a car park could have the capacity to charge a car.
The charging robot is just one of a range of charging solutions Volkswagen is working on, and will be launched in early 2021.
Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, said: ‘Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector.
‘We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.’
Schmall added: ‘Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles. They also consider the economical possibilities they offer potential partners.
‘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.’