It looks like something out of “WALL-E” but it could be the future of electric vehicle charging: A division of Volkswagen /zigman2/quotes/204431732/delayed VWAGY +2.50% has unveiled a mobile charging robot.
The idea is as intriguing as it is innovative. Instead of having to find a stationary charging port for your electric car, this robot comes to where the car is parked and then charges the vehicle with a mobile battery pack.
Volkswagen Group Components, which created the robot, says it “is one of the visionary charging concepts that Volkswagen hopes will expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years.”
VW says the charging robot would work via an app or by communication from the car itself, a technology called Car-to-X, and would operate autonomously.
The robot works by undocking itself and a mobile battery pack from a central charging hub, rolls its way to the vehicle in need of charging, opens the charge port, plugs in the battery pack and goes on its way. When the car is charged, the robot collects the battery pack and brings it back to the main charge port in preparation for the next job.
“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.
This may all sound like the future, but the Volkswagen unit says the charging robot has successfully reached prototype status. Further development is under way, as is the broader Car-to-X technology. If successful in the future, you may never have to hunt for a charging station again.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.