It’s now clearer how VW’s prototype EV charging robot will work in practice. VW has offered its first real-world glimpse of the mobile charger bot in action. It’s not just helpful for charging EVs away from dedicated spaces, it’s cute — the prototype has a “face” that lights up as it grabs the battery trailer and plugs into your car. We wouldn’t expect to hear the R2-D2-like beeps from the video below, but the robot should otherwise be friendly (or at least, not so creepy) as it tops up your ride.
The robot works autonomously and starts up either using an app or through communication with the car itself. You don’t have to open the flap or tell the robot to disconnect. And don’t worry about the robot being busy — it leaves the battery trailer at the car so that it’s free to charge other vehicles in the meantime. The charging system is clearly designed with VW models like the ID.4 in mind, although it should work with other EVs.
VW still hasn’t said when the charging robot might be available, although a not-so-mobile flexible charging station is due in early 2021. There’s still a clear use case for it, though. Dedicated EV charging spaces are still rare, and this automaton could be useful in parking garages and other areas where you’d otherwise have to let your car’s battery drain.