The Volkswagen Group has developed a mobile charger for electric vehicles that can drive parking spaces autonomously, switch on an electric vehicle and then return to the outpost without human intervention.
The prototype that VW Group Components created is intended to show how the automaker will expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years to meet the expected demand that will result from the production and sales of more electric vehicles. The VW Group is committed to bringing dozens of electric models to market over the next decade. The Group's Volkswagen brand plans to build and sell 1.5 million electric cars by 2025.
"Building an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire industry," said Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, in a statement. “We develop solutions to avoid costly individual measures. The mobile charging robot and our flexible fast charging station are just two of these solutions. "
The VW Group is developing a portfolio of different DC charging products, including a DC wallbox that charges up to 22 kilowatts. The automaker started piloting its DC wallbox at some of its production sites in Germany earlier this month. The VW Group is also planning to introduce a flexible, yet more stationary, fast charging station that will be launched on the market in early 2021.
The mobile charging robot has no release date. The company has now announced that it has reached prototype status and will be "extensively developed". There is a limitation on the mobile charger. According to VW, Car-to-X communication, which enables a vehicle to “talk” to the infrastructure, is a prerequisite for the mobile charger to be ready for the market.
The prototype of the charging robot can be started via an app started by the vehicle owner or via Car-to-X communication. As soon as communication begins, the mobile charger switches on – two digital eyes open on the display – and steers towards a vehicle. The mobile charger opens the charging flap and connects or disconnects the plug. The mobile charger can also move the vehicle and then connect it to an energy store. As soon as the charging process is complete, the robot collects the mobile energy storage device and brings it back to a central charging station.
Schmall said that the DC charging products would not only focus on the needs of customers and the technical requirements of electric vehicles, but also take into account the economic opportunities of possible partners such as operators of parking lots and underground car parks.
Below you can see the video of the mobile charging robot in action.