The new prototype is the first glimpse of a vision that Volkswagen hopes will expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years. The charging robot can be started via an app or Car-to-X communication [a new technology letting the car communicate with other vehicles or infrastructure in its near surroundings, that strives to make traveling smarter] and operates totally autonomously. It independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it — from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it — without any human involvement.
— A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary, comments Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components’ CEO.
It can even charge several vehicles at the same time, where the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up, and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
— Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector. We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. This robot and our flexible quick-charging station [to be launched onto the market in early 2021] are just two of these solutions, says Schmall. He adds:
— Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles. They also consider the economical possibilities they offer potential partners.
The robot concept enables the operators of parking bays and underground car parks to quickly and simply ”electrify” every parking space. This reduces any construction work needed, at the same time reducing the potential cost.