There’s been a lot of buzz going around lately in the world of electric vehicles, particularly on the topic of EV charging. It seems that Volkswagen has been teasing a new EV charging concept that it currently has in the works. But what’s been generating a lot of buzz? Well, lots of sources keep referring to the VW EV charging robot as the ‘charging robot with eyes’.
Whatever it is, Volkswagen is still actively developing it. So what that means for you and me is that the details are scarce, and there’s still no certainty that we’ll ever see it in the real world.
Still, it’s a fascinating concept, and we’re going to take a closer look at it in this article.
Let’s get to it.
Volkswagen EV Charging Robot: What Is It?
The VW EV charging robot was first demonstrated as a proof-of-concept somewhere in late 2019, so it's safe to say that the idea is still relatively new.
One of the probable reasons why it has sparked interest in many people is the fact that VW itself has designed the prototype robot.
Think about it as the Volkswagen version of the R2D2 robot from Star Wars. It has very expressive digital eyes and makes cute beeps and other noises that you’d expect from a friendly robot.
Volkswagen hasn’t named the robot or the concept yet, but they’ve released an animated video demonstrating how the idea may work. The company hasn’t shown a physical version of the robot. While they’re probably working on it behind the scenes, for now, it only exists as a cute animation in the video that they’ve released on their social media channels.
How It Works
Here’s what we know so far about how the EV charging concept is supposed to work. Imagine parking your electric car in a parking lot somewhere. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll use your smartphone to request the robot to recharge your electric vehicle.
The VW EV charging robot responds to your call by leaving its docking station and towing a battery unit behind it. Then, the robot will plug the battery into your car and charge it up while you’re away shopping or doing whatever you’re doing.
Once it’s done, the robot will then take the mobile battery and return it to the docking station to recharge the battery. Then, the robot will dock itself as it waits for another request.
The idea is that there will be several mobile battery units available, and the VW EV charging robot acts as something like a valet that’ll bring those portable batteries to cars that require them.
Overall, the entire task involves communication between three sides: your smartphone, electric car, and the charging robot.
The idea of the VW EV charging robot is a fascinating one. Plus, it appeals to many people considering how VW approaches the design of the robot itself. However, all of this is still somewhat conceptual, leaving many questions and unknowns for us to think about.
For starters, some bloggers have pointed out that for the concept to work, electric cars need to connect to some kind of broader network so they can communicate with the charging robots.
Building such a network is something that might only happen in the distant future, considering how there is no universal standard for EV charging that all carmakers can agree on.
Plus, other sources rightfully point out that most EV owners typically charge their cars at home and rely less on fast-charging networks elsewhere. Sure, people will still want to charge their electric cars when they go to work or the mall, but are the numbers significant enough to justify investing in automated charging solutions like the VW EV charging robot?
These are just some of the questions surrounding this new concept by Volkswagen, many of which will probably remain unanswered for a while.
Perhaps, for now, it’s best to just wait and see what happens.
Volkswagen’s Fast-Charging Networks
VW EV charging robot aside, Volkswagen has been very active in the EV space, especially with regards to charging. The company plays a significant role in developing large-scale fast-charging networks in both the United States and Europe. Some analysts are saying that perhaps when the automated EV charging robot is ready, it’ll probably be an add-on to those networks.
Volkswagen’s Other EV Charging Developments
Fast-charging networks and cute charging robots with eyes aren’t the only things Volkswagen is working on. They’re also pretty active in testing out another concept involving putting batteries in something that looks like a charging station pillar. The idea here is that each pillar will be capable of fast-charging an EV more effectively than plugging the car elsewhere.
Clearly, Volkswagen is actively, even aggressively, looking forward to a future where EVs are the norm. Not only are they developing the cars for it, but as we can see, they’re also putting a lot into developing the infrastructure necessary to make the whole thing work.
Volkswagen isn’t the only one, either. That fast-charging network mentioned earlier that’s in Europe? That’s an effort by Ionity, a collaboration of Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Porsche and Audi.
These carmakers have combined forces through Ionity to build a network of highway charging stations all across Europe, with the company being based in Munich, Germany.
To keep up with the latest news on electric vehicles and the automotive industry in general, be sure to check the blog over at Carpart.com.au.
By Ray Hasbollah