Two things are needed for motorists to consider electric cars.
First, the price of electric cars has to come down. Until they are priced similar to regular cars with internal combustion engines, they will be out of reach.
The second is the availability of charging points. Although many modern electric cars have realistic ranges, range anxiety remains an issue.
If you knew you could charge your electric car anywhere – much like you could your phone – then there’s less apprehension about owning one.
CHARGING ROBOTS INSTEAD OF CHARGING POINTS
However, retrofitting charging points can be a costly endeavour. Providers will need to recoup these costs and make a profit (ROI).
Enter Volkswagen’s Charging Robots concept.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
According to Volkswagen, the robots are started via V2X communication. The robot will autonomously drive to the electric car that needs charging and plug in a battery wagon.
Think of the battery wagon as a giant power bank. With the battery wagon plugged in, the Charging Robot can now go and charge other cars.
The battery wagon or energy storage device allows for up to 50kW DC quick charging.
The use of Charging Robots removes the need for actual charging points. However, these Robots and their battery wagons will also need to be charged.
That means they will need to occupy a space or dock to be charged themselves.
There’s also the question of payment methods. Will there be a physical machine to act as the point-of-sale kiosk? If yes, this will require space, too.
Also, will these autonomous Charging Robots be able to successfully navigate carparks, without getting stuck or getting into an accident? What happens if they are hit by a car?
That said, the concept is interesting. And if successful, it would do away with the need to retrofit physical charging points.