Monday, July 15, 2024

VW’s mobile charging robot recharges electric cars autonomously

The avalanche of electric cars is getting bigger, and in some areas, we have seen how the first problems with the charging of these vehicles are presented. In some places, the lines to access a charging point begin to grow due to the lack of infrastructure and the time it takes to fill the batteries of these cars.

Therefore Volkswagen has presented a mobile charging station concept in which an autonomous robot facilitates the charging of the battery of electric cars: it takes care of the whole process, and it is not necessary for any person to intervene. This allows the vehicle to be charged in parking space, which solves the problem of blocking the charging points and simplifies the installation of the charging infrastructure.

The prototype of the system includes, in addition to a compact, self-driving robot, flexible and agile energy storage devices, also known as ‘battery wagons.’ Each mobile charger will have a capacity of about 25 kWh so it can give a decent level of charge to several cars with small battery packs, while for models with batteries greater than 75 kWh they will need at least a couple of extra recharges.

This Volkswagen robot will charge your electric car without you having to do anything.
This Volkswagen robot will charge your electric car without you having to do anything.

And how it works? Very simple: the self-driving robot brings the energy storage device to the electric vehicle that needs to charge the battery, communicates with it to open the plug cover. It then connected them both autonomously, and integrated charging electronics enable DC charging of 50 kW. After charging, the robot decouples the mobile battery and withdraws.

The robot can carry several of these battery wagons at the same time. The whole process is fully automated and activated by the owner of the electric car using a special mobile application.

The robot’s autonomous activities are provided by cameras, laser scanners, and ultrasonic sensors. Thus, they can “move freely” throughout the parking lot, recognize possible obstacles, and to react to these. Multiple robots can take care of the distribution of charging wagons at the same time if the capacity of the parking lot requires it.

The robot, which at the moment is a prototype, intends to solve one of the main problems that electric car owners have today: the search for charging stations. And, to achieve this, what Volkswagen poses is this robot, which in practice is a mobile charging station, that is responsible for charging the battery autonomously.