VW Develops Mobile Robot That Can Charge Your EV
31. December 2019 - Motor1
Bring the charging port to you.
As electric vehicles gain in popularity, building the infrastructure necessary to charge them all will be a costly endeavor. However, Volkswagen may have a solution. VW Group Components introduced a new mobile robot concept that could autonomously help charge EVs wherever they are located, essentially making any parking spot a charging port.
The robot, which is autonomous, can move what VW calls battery wagons – 25-kilowatt-hour battery packs – to a vehicle where the robot then connects the battery wagon to the vehicle. Summoning the robot happens either via a mobile app or vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. The robot uses various cameras, laser scanners, and ultrasonic sensors to operate autonomously, including recognizing and reacting to obstacles.
VW says the robot and battery wagons could help charge vehicles in areas where installing sufficient EV charging infrastructure could be costly – like an underground parking structure or other difficult-to-renovate locations. Drivers looking for a parking spot in a parking structure could park anywhere, regardless of whether there are any open charge ports, and have VW's mobile robot wheel a battery wagon over to begin charging the vehicle.
"The constructional work as well as the costs for the assembly of the charging infrastructure can be reduced considerably through the use of the robots," says Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components.
The robot is capable of operating several battery wagons at once, taking them to vehicles, connecting them, and returning them to their home station once complete to recharge. It’s an ingenious idea as electric vehicles continue to (slowly) claw market share from hybrids and internal combustion vehicles.