The charging robot – activated via mobile phone app or car-to-x communication – acts fully autonomously. It independently approaches the vehicle to be charged and automatically exchanges the necessary information with it. The activities associated with charging – from opening the charging flap to connecting the plug and disconnecting – take place without human involvement. In order to be able to charge several vehicles at the same time, the robot brings a trailer with a built-in battery as a mobile energy storage unit to the vehicle, connects it and uses it to charge the battery of the e-vehicle. The energy storage unit remains with the car during the charging process. Meanwhile, the robot takes care of charging other vehicles. When the service is finished, it picks up the mobile energy storage unit independently and brings it back to the central charging station.
For operators of car parks, multi-storey car parks and underground garages, every parking space can be quickly and easily electrified with the mobile charging robot. This not only reduces the construction effort, but also the potential costs at the same time, says Volkswagen.
“A charging infrastructure that is available everywhere is a key success factor for e-mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but certainly one of the most visionary,” explains Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, which is responsible for developing the robot. “The sustainable development of an efficient charging infrastructure is a central task that challenges the entire industry. We are developing solutions that help to avoid costly individual measures. The mobile charging robot is one such solution.”
The Components business unit is working on a complete DC charging family. The company is currently testing the use of a flexible DC wallbox fast charging station, which is scheduled to launch on the market in early 2021. The charging robot that has now been presented has successfully reached prototype status and is now to be intensively further developed. One of the prerequisites for market readiness is, among other things, car-to-x communication, which enables the autonomous charging process.
In line with the central importance of the topic, Volkswagen Group Components will in future be responsible for all charging activities and charging systems of the Volkswagen Group, among other things. The charging robot is thus to become part of an overall concept that ensures the sustainable success of e-mobility and thus the electrification of transport.
At the same time, it was announced that after the ID.3 compact vehicle, Volkswagen’s ID.4 electric SUV will also go into series production before the end of January. At the same time, production of the e-Golf, the electrically powered variant of the Golf, will be phased out.
See here how the robot works (video)