What if you didn’t have to worry about finding the right charging station for your electric vehicle? Volkswagen came up with a practical and really cute answer to the concern: an autonomous mobile charging robot.
- Volkswagen’s prototype autonomous robot could take finding a charging station out of the equation.
- If people know they can always get a charge, it could remove a roadblock to having them purchase an EV.
Anthropomorphized with human eyes, the robot is a friendly assistant. Volkswagen really missed an opportunity here to come up with a fun name to match. Nonetheless, the design is a smart choice to help position EV vehicles as unintimidating and inviting technology that’s easy to use.
Don’t want the hassle of finding a charging station and waiting to refuel? Volkswagen plans to bring a fill up to you. (Video: YouTube)
Charging comes to you
Summoned via an app or V2X communication, the robot hops to it driving to the location of the electric car autonomously. Here’s how it works: the robot escorts a trailer with a mobile energy storage device to your car. Just like a full service gas station attendant – remember those days?
The robot then pops open the charging flap and connects the plug. Upon completion, it removes the plug, closes the flap and returns the device to a charging station nearby. No human interaction required. Plus, there’s the added convenience of not having to standby while your car charges.
The robot is a busy little bee and stays productive. While one vehicle charges, the robot decouples from the charging device to pick up another one to serve other drivers. Unfortunately, you can’t request an order of fries with the service. Perhaps that will come in a later version.
Developed by Volkswagen Group Components, the mobile charging robot is still in prototype form, with no date set for launch.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Anxiety about running out of battery before finding a convenient and compatible charger deters people from taking the plunge in buying an EV. An on-demand charging system could alleviate that worry.