Last week, Volkswagen outlined its vision for autonomous charging robots which would recharge electric cars when they're parked in a lot.
On a mission to prevent future drivers from having to plan their trips around EV charging stations, Volkswagen developed a new mobile charging robot concept: when EV owners' vehicles are parked in a lot, an autonomous robot would seek out their cars using various sensors and scanners to recharge the battery -- no human intervention needed.
These bots would have the potential to turn any parking lot into a charging station. Once prompted to charge a vehicle via an app or V2X communication, a charging robot would deploy itself, make its way to the designated parked car with an energy storage unit containing about 25kWh, open the charging socket flap, and connect the unit to the car's charging plug which can charge the vehicle with DC fast charging up to 50kW.
While a car is recharging via the stationary energy storage unit, the robot can bring another unit to a different vehicle with a low battery. Once the EVs' batteries are juiced up, the robot will collect the energy units and return them to designated charging stations as they await the next vehicle to service.
Volkswagen believes that this technology "will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities, such as multistorey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks," as it could eliminate the need for dedicated charging infrastructures. Rest area and sports event parking lots as well as parking garages both above and below ground could benefit from these charging robots in the future.
While this tech is currently a "visionary prototype," Volkswagen states that it could be made reality "quite quickly."