Fully automatic charging robots for electric vehicles

2 min read

Continental, together with start-up Volterio and Continental Engineering Services (CES) is developing an intelligent charging robot for electric vehicles.

CES and Volterio have officially entered into a partnership that will see the latter develop the first near-production systems for the jointly designed charging robot by mid-2022.

With CES meeting all necessary certification criteria of the automotive industry, it will then also develop the system to production maturity and ultimately take over the production of the charging robot. Volume production of the system is planned for 2024 and will take place in Germany.

Intelligent charging solutions for electric vehicles in particular are being seen as key milestones in developing comprehensive, environmentally-compatible, sustainable mobility.

The fully automatic charging solution comprises two components: one unit in the underbody of the vehicle and another on the garage floor. As soon as the car is parked, the two components connect automatically via a smart system, which among other options is controlled via ultra-broadband – a radio-based communication technology for short-range data transmission.

According to Continental, a practical advantage of this is that the car does not have to be parked accurately. The charging robot corrects for deviation of up to 30cms from the ideal parking position. In addition, it is irrelevant what angle a vehicle is positioned in relation to the floor unit. The conical design of the physical connector between the floor and vehicle unit permits any alignment and orientation between the units.

"Our charging robot is a real step in the evolution of making electric mobility more convenient and suitable for everyday use,” explained Dr. Christoph Falk-Gierlinger, managing director of CES. “With Volterio, we have the ideal partner for developing an efficient and simple solution for charging electric vehicles. Through this cooperation, we are combining the creativity and flexibility of a young start-up with the development experience and automotive expertise of Continental Engineering Services.”

The new technology offers a number of benefits, such as the energy flows through a physical connection, just as it does in conventional charging stations. This means that – unlike wireless inductive charging via a magnetic field – hardly any energy is lost when filling up with the charging robot making this solution particularly sustainable and efficient.

In addition, charging is convenient thanks to the robot technology. Unlike charging stations, users no longer have to worry about any aspect of charging, such as handling heavy, potentially contaminated or rain-soaked charging cables in confined garages. The charging process runs completely automatically.

Furthermore, communication between the ground and vehicle units via ultra-broadband ensures that the vehicle and charging robot are aligned prior to charging with cm precision – the user can park relatively casually, the technology does not require accurate parking.