Efficient and smooth charging of Electric Vehicles (EV) is a demanding factor nowadays. Robotic charging might make topping off an EV battery easier, but it would be great if it did not terrify the children in the back seat in the process. Continental’s low profile system is dropping the large robotic systems in favor of small and simple floor plate that makes a physical connection with the vehicle. It seems like a wireless charging system.
Continental’s system appears quite user-friendly. Continental and its partner, “Volterio” are working on the two-part system with a floor-mounted charging plate and a receiver that mounts to the vehicle underbody. The two components detect each other via ultra-broadband short-distance radio communications when the car rolls over the top of the charging plate. This makes the physical connection automatically.
The system seems similar to the two-part wireless induction chargers. But the hard-wired connection limits electrical losses, increasing the overall efficiency of the system. The robotic design is not so fussy as it can compensate for parking deviations up to 30 cm from ideal. In this case, the car can be parked casually without having to precisely align the vehicle over top of the charger. But the system of Continental and Volterio involves autonomous charging.
According to Continental, Volterio, and the company itself were previously pursuing their own charging robot designs independently. But they have now officially collaborated to develop a robotic charging system suitable for everyday use. They aim to complete the first preproduction units by mid-2022.
The two-part rollout plan of the two companies will first offer the system as a retrofit for existing Electric Vehicles and households having a proper 22-kW C rating. Then both of these companies will contribute to introducing an efficient charging version for public parking areas and fleet garages with 50 kW+ DC connections. The second version will be involving the floor plate that will be designed to sheath into the ground when not in use.