- volkswagen is teasing an autonomous robot that charges evs in parking lots.
- the robot would tow batteries to individual vehicles and hook them up to begin charging.
- no word on when this will become a reality, but it does solve the issue of adding charging to a garage without placing individual charging stations at parking stalls.
robots typically fall into two categories: a helpful friend like r2d2 or a killing machine like the t1000. while volkswagen begins its video of its mobile charging robot with the percussion associated with the terminator movies, it quickly pivots to r2d2-esque noises as it teases its rather cute solution to charging evs in parking lots without installed charging stations.
this prototype for the mobile charging robot is one of the concepts the volkswagen group is developing to help bring the charging infrastructure up to par with the number of electric vehicles the automaker is hoping to sell over the next few years.
this technology uses car-to-x (a.k.a. v2x vehicle-to-everything) communications. in a second video, vw shows a driver pulling into a spot in a garage and using an app to tell the charging robot that their vehicle needs juice. the robot grabs the so-called “mobile energy storage” unit, which is essentially a battery on wheels, and tows it over to the vehicle and plugs it in to begin charging.
the robot will then either return to its home base and wait to remove the rolling battery or grab another mobile energy storage unit and attach that to another vehicle. all of this is done without the need for a human attendant, according to volkswagen. it’s less terrifying and more practical than the autonomous metal snake tesla showed off in 2015.
these types of systems could allow parking garages to have a charging infrastructure without the need to place a charging station at individual parking stalls. instead, the rolling battery packs can be charged at a single location and deployed as needed.
there's no word on when the adorable robot car butler will become a reality. but in its release, volkswagen stated, “the mobile charging robot has successfully reached prototype status and will now be comprehensively further developed.”