One of the main reasons that car buyers haven’t fully adopted electric vehicles is because of the lack of charging infrastructure. Several charging companies are working on adding more charging stations, but then there’s the other issue that the charging stations require dedicated parking spaces, which also takes more time and money.
Well there may be a fix. Volkswagen has unveiled its mobile charging robot, which can recharge an EV in any regular parking spot. Instead of needing a dedicated parking spot, the robot can sit in an unused corner of a parking garage. Then when a driver wants to recharge their EV, they simply park in any spot and via a smartphone app they can send a note to the robot that they need a charge.
The mobile charging robot simply wakes up and steers to the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it. It then can open the charging socket flap and connect the plug without any involvement from the driver.
The robot can also charge several vehicles at the same time by moving a mobile energy storage unit to the vehicle, which it then uses the energy storage unit to charge the vehicle. Once the vehicle is fully charged, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
“Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector,” says Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components. “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.”
VW says that the robot has already reached the prototype stage and it will launch in early 2021.