Volkswagen’s new self-charging robot could save electric car owners hours

Volkswagen show off their mobile charging robot

Volkswagen has revealed the first glimpse of their new prototype which they claim can expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years. The technology will even allow drivers to charge their cars in areas where it may be hard to install electric charging technology such as underground car parks.

Volkswagen said their new robot will independently steer the vehicle to be charged, opens the charging socket flap and connects the plug.

They confirmed the entire process is possible without any human involvement and can even charge several vehicles at the same time.

Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components CEO said electric infrastructure was a “key factor” in the success of the new vehicles.

He said the new tool was “one of the most visionary” approaches to the problem of ensuring enough infrastructure was available to road users.

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Mr Schmall said: “A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility.

“Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary

“Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector.

“We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures.

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“The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.”

Volkswagen showed off how drivers would be able to check the status of their car’s battery through their phone and request a robot to charge their car if required.

The battery would then be significantly higher when drivers return to their cars reducing road users concerns over where they can charge their vehicles.

Earlier this month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into range anxiety after they warned charging was “crucial” to the roll-out of the new technology.

The CMA said it recognised range anxiety was a key concern and how it was “essential” drivers could access a charging station.

Andrea Costelli, head of the CMA said: “Making the switch to electric vehicles is key to helping the UK become greener, which is why it’s so important that everyone has the confidence to get behind the move.

“Being able to easily stop off at a petrol station is a standard part of a journey and consumers must trust that electric charge points will provide a similarly straightforward service.”

Volkswagen said it is currently working on a flexible quick charging station which will be launched in early 2021.

The mobile charging robot has reached prototype status and will be comprehensively developed.

Volkswagen confirmed their intention is to introduce the charging robot into an overall concept to focus on the long-term success of electric mobility.

Mr Schmall added: “Establishing a charging infrastructure is a fundamental prerequisite for this. But it needs to be demand-led and efficient.

“Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles.

“They also consider the economical possibilities they offer potential partners.”

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