One of the biggest logistic problems with electric vehicles or EVs is charging locations. Often you have to drive to these stations that are laid out in sprawling areas to accommodate multiple cars at once. Sometimes, however, the best time to charge such a car is when it’s parked but parking spaces are cramped and putting a charging station there could cause a line that will block the flow of cars in and out parking. Volkswagen is almost genius in its simplicity and brings the charging station to the car instead, courtesy of a self-driving robot and its “wagon”.
Imagine parking your EV, perhaps in an underground or multistorey parking. With a few taps on an app, a robot drives to your exact location, flips open the charging socket flap, connects the mobile battery storage, and then scurries off to attend to another car. Once the charging is done, it comes to collect the battery and waits for another customer. All of these without any human interaction except for the initial command.
This is the future that Volkswagen is trying to paint in the minds of EV owners. Instead of driving to charging stations, owners and drivers can simply charge at the most convenient time and location, while parked at a lot. The fully automated process means they won’t have to deal with fighting over queues or maneuvering over to sockets.
The idea might also have some appeal to parking lot owners and operators. The mobile nature of both the robots and their batteries means they don’t have to set up special permanent infrastructure to cater to electric cars. It also means there will be fewer queues and fewer flow problems, not to mention more customers patronizing their establishments because of the convenience of EV charging.
Of course, it’s still a future that has yet to become reality though a prototype robot is already in the works. The system still has a lot to account for, like the safety of these self-driving autonomous robots and the security of the charging batteries, but it’s definitely an interesting future to imagine.