If you are very familiar with the news mills as it concerns the global Auto industry, you would have noticed that the current industry buzz word is the EV. Everyone seems to be talking of nothing else other than Electric Vehicles and how they are and will revolutionize the global Auto space. Noteworthily, Hyundai has just launched the Hyundai Kona EV, the first electric vehicle to be assembled in Nigeria.
As Tesla continues its dominance of this space, other Auto manufacturers are trying to catch and are rigorously investing in premium technology that will give them an edge or say a footprint in this space. One such automaker is the Volkswagen Group through one of its independent business units, the Volkswagen Group Components. This business has been tasked with producing the auto group's component parts including the electric drives as well as EV proprietary units, components, steering systems, gearboxes, engines, and even seats.
One of such EV proprietary units VW Component recently unveiled is this intelligent Electric Vehicle Charging Robot which the firm says will perform the whole EV charging operation autonomously without supervisory input from humans. The implication of this Volkswagen EV Charging Robot is that the robot independently performs tasks like the opening of the charging socket flap of an EV, to the job of connecting the charging plug to the EV's socket and to decoupling these units after charging is complete.
The idea behind designing the robot is borne out of the need to make certain the future of Electric Mobility, by providing the charging infrastructure required to meet the growing demands of the EV industry that is already becoming very huge and robust. One specific area of consideration for designing this robot is the need to service areas that are not so accessible like underground parking lots. Thus servicing areas like this would normally require standalone charging stations to be built there to accommodate the EV charging demands in those areas.
But building charging stations in these exclusive places would require huge capital. However, with these charging robot stationed in these areas, the need for these expensive standalone charging infrastructure would be all but eliminated. Speaking on this, the CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, Mr Thomas Schmall explained:
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. The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.
Now the big question now is, how do these charging robots work? The next section will highlight this!!
How the Volkswagen EV Charging Robot Works?
The initial design of the robot as unveiled by VW Group Components allows for an all autonomous interaction between the EV and the robot. This means that the driver of an EV will not have to be physically involved in terms of initiating the first-instance interaction between the EV and the robot. So the driver may not have to manually press a button on the robot to initiate the charging process. Rather the job is handle by the use of a mobile app that would automatically initiate the process by seamlessly connecting the Electric Vehicle to the charging robot.
This is very much similar to the ride-hailing service where a user speaks to an App and the App consequently connects the user to a physical ride. So all you need to do is first have the specific App on your device, then speak to the application and request a charging robot, the application then finds a free and ready robot and then connects the robot to your car. Remember, your App would be synchronized to your EV which would make it easy for the robot to find your vehicle.
With this initial interaction taken care of, the robot can then commence the series of jobs required to charge your EV's battery, depending on your request.
Please note that the robot itself does not actually supply the charge, rather the robot always moves with a power bank that has the required electrical energy stored.
The next steps begin with the robot detaching itself from charge and then proceeds to activate a power bank that it tows along with it to the electric vehicle that has to be charged. After plugging the power bank into the EV, the robot returns back to charge, to keep its power at an optimal level. This is to make sure that the robot completes all the jobs required to completely charge vehicle(s) without running out of charge itself. With this, the robot can very much easily service as many vehicles as possible depending on the available power banks.
After the stipulated or allowed charge time is reached depending on the charge request initiated by the EV owner, the robot unplugs itself and proceeds to detach the power bank from the EV and consequently tow it back to its charging point and then makes sure to plug the power bank back to the electricity source to charge up for the next request.
So clearly, the robot performs all the duties required to charge the EV independently and autonomously without needing any kind of assistance from humans to do its job. Isn't that just cool!!!
See the video below for a short highlight on how the charging robot works,
Volkswagen’s Mobile Charging Robot
>>> You may want to check out All you need to know about charging electric cars in Nigeria
Above is a brief introduction and review of the Volkswagen EV Charging Robot. With technologies like this one, the future of Electric Mobility looks a lot more secure and realistic. The Electric Mobility era is here to stay and is surely going to give fossil fuel cars a real big fight. However, we don't expect fossil fuel cars to immediately disappear but the next 2 decades will really help us see how much this old technology's relevance will remain.
The Nigeria government is gradually getting to terms with this reality and seems to be catching up with the EV frenzy. In a later article, we will discuss why the Nigeria government can not afford to be left behind in this Electric Mobility craze.