Electrify America will use robots to charge self-driving EVs

It’s developing a pilot charging station in San Francisco.

As self-driving and electric vehicles advance, one fundamental question remains: How will autonomous EVs connect to charging stations? Volkswagen-backed Electrify America and Stable Auto hope to answer that. The two companies are working together to develop robotic charging stations for self-driving vehicle fleets.

Their first pilot demonstration will take place in San Francisco. The autonomous charging station will allow self-driving EV fleets to connect to Electrify America's 150kW DC fast chargers without human intervention. The cars will park themselves inside a standard parking space, and Stable's robot will get them hooked up to the power source.

Electrify America

"Autonomous vehicles will play an important role in the future of driving, particularly with fleets, and tailored charging options for self-driving EVs will be critical to develop that effort," said Wayne Killen, director of infrastructure planning at Electrify America. The pilot program will allow the companies to test the hardware, back-end solutions and potential business models. If all goes according to plan, it's expected to be ready in early 2020.