Volkswagen’s robot concept, which does not have an expected release date, would deliver and connect battery packs to vehicles, eliminating the need for dedicated EV charging spots
Volkswagen has unveiled a preliminary concept for an autonomous robot that would charge electric vehicles by delivering mobile battery packs to parking spaces.
As demonstrated in a concept video released by Volkswagen, the driver would use a mobile app to activate the robot. The robot would then deliver a battery pack to the vehicle, connect the plug, and leave the battery connected to the car in order to attend to other vehicles. Once charging is complete, the robot would return to pick up the pack. The entire process would be conducted autonomously, without any human interaction.
Such mobile technology would allow practically any parking spot accessible to the robot to become charge-compatible, theoretically erasing the need to establish charging infrastructure for individual spaces. As such, it poses a potential solution for “garage orphans” who face significant barriers charging EVs in their current residence.
“It’s a visionary prototype, which can be made into reality quite quickly, if the general conditions are right,” says Mark Höller, head of development at Volkswagen Group Components. “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.”
It could also effectively eliminate the issue of ICE-ing — that is, the blocking of EV charging spots by internal combustion vehicles. Being blocked from charger access is often a source of frustration for EV drivers; the Ontario government recently established a $125 fine for blocking an EV charger.
The robot uses cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors in order to move independently and avoid potential obstacles. The battery wagons, as the mobile battery packs are called, would connect to wall chargers and allow for DC quick charging.
Although Volkswagen has not announced a prospective date for the release of the charging robots, they have indicated that they are part of a “future charging family” of products currently in development.