The Volkswagen Group (VW) has presented a new robotic charger that can navigate parking lots and charge compatible electric vehicles there. The robot continues until it’s empty and then returns to its own recharge dock, all without the need for human intervention. The obvious advantage of this is that simple parking spaces are turned into charging docks, so EVs won’t have to visit specialized charging stations to get some well-needed power juice.
From what was shown in the prototype demonstrations, the charging bot can be started right from a mobile phone app or the infotainment system of the vehicle. The next step involves the robot coming at the position of the car that summoned it, avoiding any obstacles along the way of course. From there, a charging arm retracts and connects to the socket, so the energy transfer process begins.
VW states that this is only a small part of a diverse and extensive portfolio of DC charging solutions they’re planning to develop in the following couple of years. The German automaker wants all of these solutions to focus on versatility and cost-effectiveness, even mobility if possible. For now, the charging bots don’t have an official release date, and it will require the presence of some basic communication infrastructure to operate, so it could take a while.
To tackle all the practical problems that stand in the way of having an even more explosive growth of the EV field, a wide spectrum of solutions needs to be made available and VW knows this is the case.
Another product that the firm is developing for the same purpose is a 22 KW ‘wall box’, but this one is already being piloted in several locations across Germany. As that’s a more easily attainable solution, VW estimates that the actual market rollout will happen in the following couple of months.