My assertion may sound crazy, but let me share with you some of my recent experiences with my EV, for you to better understand my point. Almost every evening I charge the car at home, in my courtyard. And in the morning I have to pack up the 6-meter-long (20 feet) cable.
When it’s raining, this procedure is really a pain in the a**, because every time I get dirty. Sure, at home I can immediately wash my hands, but unfortunately this is not the case when I use a public charging station, where I have to deal to my second cable, an AC Level 2 one.
And that, my friends, is a not-so-little annoying detail for every EV user out there. I wouldn’t mind at all if the cables were gone and my car somehow plugged itself in to charge. What shape that'll take is not known. Tesla gave up that weird idea of a snake-like robotic arm some years ago. I’m eager to see the wireless charging really taking off, but it seems I'll still have to wait some years for this solution to become workable and scalable.
This is why the little cutie of an autonomous charging robot suddenly looks much more important. It’s a combination between a vacuum robot and wireless charging. And it really looks like the answer to all problems.
EFI Automotive, a French global automotive supplier. Its engineers have already been working on this Robo-EV charger for five years now and they expect to put it into production somewhere in 2025.
It looks very promising. Unlike a vacuum cleaner, this autonomous charging robot must be plugged into an AC socket, so the cable length limits its range to 10 meters (33 feet). But in the future the length will be increased.
For now, the inductive charger has a charging power of 7 kW, which is in line with many AC Level 2 public chargers out there, and also is suitable for all EVs on the market, new or used. Of course, the power level will be increased in the future, as the development of wireless charging technology evolves.
One of the main points of interest for this robot is its increased efficiency. Because it’s closer to the coil mounted beneath the car, the wireless charging’s efficiency improves by 97%. So minimizing electricity losses make it a more attractive investment.
Of course, this is an IoT device. It features first-level communication with the car and detects when it needs charging. It automatically moves into place underneath the car and aligns itself for charging. In the future, it might also feature V2G technology.
Moreover, it has the ability to charge more than one EV, so it really is very interesting for fleets. Just imagine a cohort of rent-an-EV that are quietly charged while parked by a little army of these autonomous robots.
You can think of many other case studies to understand its potential. For now, it’s a catchy idea for those who are concerned with how easy it is to charge an electric vehicle. Because, as I said earlier, convenience is not something to overlook, especially when the EV is an expensive one.
So, I think you now agree that hands-free recharging might be more important than you thought. Of course, the real revolution is coming from battery improvements and lower prices for electric cars. But this autonomous charging robot has some aces up its sleeve.