In the ever changing world of electric veicle charging, one thing has remained fixed: the EVSE (charger) is generally bolted to a wall or pillar with an associated, dedicated, parking spot.
In our busy car parks, even with the many signs and road markings saying ‘EV parking whilst charging ONLY’, it sometimes can be hard to find them, let alone getting there to discover the spots are taken up with EVs that long ago finished charging, or worse: they have been ICEed.
(ICEed being the term for finding an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle taking up the charging spot/s, thereby preventing EVs from using them).
But what if the EVSE came looking for you?
This is the concept Volkswagen recently revealed: an autonomous mobile charging robot and energy storage system.
After it is started via app or V2X communication, a mobile robot drives itself to the vehicle that needs charging and communicates with it.
From opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug to decoupling – the entire charging process occurs without any human interaction.
The highlight: the mobile robot brings a trailer in the form of a mobile 25kWh energy storage device (called a ‘battery wagon’) to the vehicle and connects them; this energy storage device then charges the vehicle battery.
The robot itself then moves on to the next EV to set up the next EV for charging via another battery wagon.
Once the charging service is complete, the robot collects the battery wagon and brings it back to a charging station to be recharged.
Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components said:
“The mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities, such as multistorey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around. With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures”.
He then went on to say:
“The compact design of the charging robot is perfectly suited for use in restricted parking areas without charging infrastructures, such as underground car parks. Even the well-known problem of a charging station being blocked by another vehicle will no longer exist with our concept. You simply choose any parking space as usual. You can leave the rest to our electronic helper.”
The mobile charging robot is a prototype being developed by Volkswagen Group Components, for the purpose of giveing an insight into the potential future of EV charging infrastructure.
A possible date for the market launch of the charging robot has not been set yet.