Volkswagen has showcased the first prototypes of its mobile charging robot. Developed by Volkswagen Group Components, the mobile charge points aim to expand charging infrastructure over the next few years.
Started using an app or via car-to-charger communication, the mobile charging robot operates autonomously. It steers to the vehicle by itself, opens the charging flap, and connects to the electric car before starting the charge. Once completed, it can then also automatically decouple from the vehicle, and the entire process can take place without any involvement from a person at all.
To be able to charge several EVs, the robot steers an energy storage unit - effectively a large battery on a trailer - and uses this to charge the vehicle. The robot then then go and fetch another energy storage unit for a different EV that needs charging. When finished the robot will collect the entry storage unit and return it to charge, ready for the next usage.
VW is working on a suite of charging solutions, with a DC callbox having been rolled out at trial sites across its production facilities in Germany. The mobile charging robot has successfully reached prototype status, and will be tested further.
Volkswagen’s aim with the system is to enable car park operators to easily electrify every space. Market maturity will be required for car-to-X communication for the fully autonomous charging process, but the system could prove beneficial for site operators before then.