The Volkswagen Group has developed a mobile electric vehicle charger that can autonomously navigate parking areas, power an EV and then return to its outpost without the intervention of humans.
The prototype, which was made by VW Group Components, aims to show how the automaker will expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years, meeting the expected demand to build and sell more electric vehicles. The VW Group has committed to launching dozens of electric models over the next decade. The group’s Volkswagen brand plans to manufacture and sell 1.5 million electric cars by 2025.
“Establishing an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire region,” said Thomas Schmoll, chief executive of Volkswagen Group in a statement. “We are developing solutions to avoid costly stand-alone measures. Mobile charging robots and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions. “
The VW Group is developing a portfolio of various DC charging products, including a DC wallbox that charges up to 22 kW. The automaker began running its DC Wallbox at some of its production sites in Germany earlier this month. The VW Group is also planning to launch a flexible – still more stable – quick-charging station to be launched in the market in early 2021.
Mobile charging robots do not have a release date. The company said that now that it had reached prototype status, it would be “widely developed”. There is a caviate for the mobile charger. VW said that car-to-X communication, which allows the vehicle to “talk” to infrastructure, would be a prerequisite for mobile chargers to reach market maturity.
The charging robot prototype can be initiated via an app launched by the vehicle owner or car-to-x communication. Once communication begins, the mobile charger turns on – two digital eyes open on the display – and it moves toward a vehicle. The mobile charger opens the charging socket flap and simultaneously connects or disconnects the plug. The mobile is also able to move the charger and then connect the vehicle to the energy storage unit. Once the charging is complete, the robot collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
Schmoll said that DC charging products would not only focus on customer needs and technical prerequisites of electric vehicles, but would also consider the affordable possibilities of potential partners such as operators of parking and bays and underground car parks.
You can watch the video of the mobile charging robot in action below.