Volkswagen are back with their mobile charging robot for EVs, allowing the charging of electric cars without the need for installing multiple charge points in car parks.
With Volkswagen on a mission to change themselves from the world leader in ‘clean’ diesels to the world leader in ‘clean’ EVs, there’s lots to do to ensure buyers actually buy-in to the EV ‘dream’, from making EVs actually affordable for real people to ensuring it’s as easy as possible to charge when needed.
The affordability bit relies on the ever-reducing cost of batteries – and/or new battery tech like Toyota’s solid-state battery – eventually making the production of EVs at least on a par with ICE production costs, but the ease of charging is a bigger issue.
For many, charging at home is, and will continue to be, the most affordable and convenient, with ‘Super-Charger’ EV stations like Gridserve and Ionity eventually doing the on the move charging in quick sticks, but charging at work or out shopping is a challenge.
The idea of fitting every parking space in every car park is a bit of a non-starter, but VW has had plans for a while for a ‘Robot’ charger for EVs, which it first revealed last year.
Now it’s back with a ‘real’ prototype showing how an autonomous robot could cart charging packs round a car park, plug them in to charge an EV and collect them when the charging is complete, promising to serve a whole car park without the need for separate charge points.
Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, said:
The mobile charging robot has successfully reached prototype status and will now be comprehensively further developed. One of the prerequisites for market maturity is Car-to-X communication to facilitate the autonomous charging process.
When VW revealed the idea of the charging robot last year, they said it towed in a 25kWh charging pack, but now they’re not releasing any figures so we guess they’re working on making that rather more as battery sizes in most EVs continue to grow.
It’s a clever idea, but don’t go looking for it in your local multi-storey quite yet.
Volkswagen Mobile Charging Robot Video