Outside of talking about charging capacities, many people do not pay attention to the specifics of EV chargers or any of their possible developments in the future. We are no doubt more excited to read about VW’s actual electric car offerings such as the ID.3 or ID BUZZ. However, VW is looking to make us all excited about an EV charger for reasons other than how fast it can charge a car. They are looking to charge your car with an autonomous robot that takes care of the charging for you at the tap of a button.
Outside of electric vehicle production, Volkswagen has been trying their hand at innovating on the car charging experience as well. The German automaker has seemingly been trying to come up with ways of charging that are flexible. A couple of years ago they released a concept for a mobile EV charger that could be deployed anywhere off the grid and started placing them around their HQ. Additionally, they have been working on a way to eliminate having to install chargers all together by having a robot tow battery packs to cars in parking garages and charge the cars that way. You can see an example of how this would work in the video below.
At the time it was seen as just a concept video, but today Volkswagen have unveiled a physical concept of the robot and their intention to continue development on it. Volkswagen describes the charging process as such:
The charging robot – started via an app or Car-to-X communication – operates totally autonomously. It independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it: from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it. The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement whatsoever. To charge several vehicles at the same time, the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
There is no timeline regarding when we could expect to see these little robots scurry around our local parking lots.
While it’s easy to dismiss this project as nothing more than a gimmick, it would be interesting to know how much money this system could say a parking lot owner compared to having to install chargers throughout. While I have my doubts that a system like this could serve a huge mall parking lot 20 years from now when there hopefully will be a majority of EVs, it does seem like it could make sense for smaller lots that don’t see a majority of their cars being electric. Just make sure you don’t deploy them in Philly.
What do you guys think of the VW system? Is it a gimmick or are their practical uses to the way this is done? Let us know down in the comments below.