Volkswagen Group has developed a robot charger that moves from vehicle to vehicle to keep the EV’s charged up. Volkswagen unveiled the prototype this week, describing it as a possible concept that could be used to expand the charging infrastructure. Auto executives from a variety of companies have said they believe expanding the charging infrastructure is a critical factor in boosting sales of EVs.
Volkswagen executives suggest the charging robot could operate in parking garages or other defined areas where vehicles are parked regularly.
The robot operates autonomously, and it is activated by a smart phone. It finds the vehicle needing a charge and communicates with it, opening the charging socket flap to connect the plug and decouple it when charging is complete.
The robot also can charge multiple vehicles simultaneously by hauling a portable charger or chargers to each vehicle from a central station. When the charging is completed, the robot tows the portable chargers back to the central station.
Volkswagen Group Components, which has been given overall responsibility for VW’s charging activities, is working on a complete DC charging family, including a flexible quick-charging station set to launch in early 2021.
The mobile charging robot prototype has passed its initial tests and will now undergo further refinement with an emphasis on the “car-to-X communication” critical to the autonomous charging process, Volkswagen officials said.