VW’s charging robot makes poles redundant


The robot pulls a mobile energy storage to your car, and plugs it in. VW’s solution means, among other things, that you do not have to build expensive charging posts at every parking space.

Tesla was the first to demonstrate a robotic snake that would automate the charging process, but since then nothing has been heard of the invention. Instead, it was Volkswagen’s subsidiary Electrify America that would be the first with an automated charging station. The pilot plant was scheduled to open in 2020 in San Francisco, but with a few days left in the year, there is no further information on how it went.

Instead, it is the Volkswagen group that presents a prototype of the company’s new charging robot. Unlike the Tesla snake, it is a mobile robot that for its own machine gets to the cars to be charged. It communicates with the car, opens the lid, plugs in the cable – and returns to unplug when charging is complete.

On a trailer, the robot pulls a mobile energy storage that is left by the car, and when charging is complete, it picks up the energy storage unit to a central charging station. In this way, a robot can service many cars at a fast pace – the solution also means that you avoid the large investments around setting up a charging post at each parking space.

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– Creating an efficient and accessible charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor for the success of electric mobility. We develop solutions that can avoid expensive measures. The mobile charging robot and our mobile fast charging station are just two of these solutions, says Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components.

Now the prototype will be further developed, and the hope is that the mobile fast charging station will be launched in early 2021. What may stand in the way is that a “market maturity” is required for the Car-to-X communication that VW wants to use to simplify the process with the robot. Volkswagen Group Components states that they are now working with a complete DC charging family.


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