Volkswagen unveils 'visionary' electric car-charging robot

London: Volkswagen Group has unveiled the first glimpse of the prototypes of its mobile charging robot that can be used for fully autonomous charging of vehicles in restricted parking areas, like underground garages.

The charging robot -- started via an app or Car-to-X communication -- operates autonomously. It independently steers to the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it: from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it.

The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement whatsoever, the company said in a statement late on Monday. "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," said Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components.

To charge several vehicles at the same time, the mobile robot moves a mobile energy storage unit to the vehicle, connects it, and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the vehicle and repeats the process to charge other vehicles.

Once the vehicle is fully charged, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.

"Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector," said Schmall.

"We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions."

The business unit is currently working on a complete DC charging family. The company said that the flexible quick-charging station will be launched onto the market in early 2021.

"Our developments do not just focus on customers' needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles," said Schmall. "They also consider the economic possibilities they offer potential partners."

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