VW Plans Car Park Robot EV Chargers

Possibly in a bid to convince itself and the investors that BEVs will soon take over auto powertrains, Volkswagen foresees autonomous robot car chargers.

It claims the Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robot prototype recently developed will solve the issue of commuters having to find vacant urban charge points as it runs around charging vehicles in car parks that request charging. Using an app or V2X communication, the 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 robot also brings a trailer in the form of a mobile energy storage device to the vehicle and connects them. The mobile energy storage device stays with the vehicle during the whole charging process while the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service is complete, the robot collects the energy storage device and brings it back to the charging station.

The prototype, when fully charged, claim an energy content of around 25 kWh each. A charging robot can move several battery wagons at the same time. With its integrated charging electronics, the energy storage device allows for DC quick charging with up to 50 kW on the vehicle.

The robot is fitted with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors to aid its autonomous passage. Depending on the size of the parking area or the underground car park, several charging robots can be employed simultaneously so that several vehicles can be attended to. So far, VW has only released artists renditions of the prototype rather than actual pictures of the claimed product.

Mark Möller, head of development at Volkswagen Group Components, said: “This approach has an enormous economic potential. 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. 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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


One comment

  1. Avatar Georges Ramaekers 31st December 2019 @ 6:46 am

    This system needs a lot of space and lots of power. Parking lots will see their capacity reduced by 30%. Only car parks with a maximum of 50% occupation can be considered for this system even when there are so few e-cars on the roads.

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