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VW to Test Self-Charging Autonomous EVs

VW to Test Self-Charging Autonomous EVs

As first reported by The Verge, Volkswagen will be teaming up with Stable Auto, a California startup, to test self-charging autonomous all-electric vehicles (EV’s). The effort will be conducted under VW’s Electrify America project, an undertaking we mentioned earlier here.

The goal of the project is to develop fast-charging stations where self-driving EVs can pull-up and attach to a robotic arm with a 150kW DC charger. The first test site will be built in San Francisco and is scheduled to open in 2020.

In a prepared statement, Electrify America’s Director of Infrastructure Planning and Business Development Wayne Killen said:

“We believe that reliable, high power electric vehicle charging infrastructure is essential for the accelerated adoption of EVs in the U.S., and recognize that foundational solutions like DC fast charging can be adapted for different charging needs. 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. We’re excited to partner with Stable to be at the forefront of learning more and developing those charging solutions.”

VWs participation in this project is a signal that the German giant believes in autonomous-vehicle technology and a future that is both driver-less and electric.

Killen went on to say:

“As part of this agreement, Electrify America will evaluate the hardware, network, operations and billing of its charging systems to best suit autonomous charging fleets. Electrify America has provided two 150kW DC fast chargers to Stable’s charging facility for initial development work behind demonstrating the commercial viability of autonomous charging services for self-driving EVs.”

Stable Auto will integrate its robotics software and technology into Electrify America’s charging station. The ultimate goal of the project is to completely eliminate all human interaction with the EV charging process. Ideally, an autonomous vehicle would park by itself in a standard parking space. Using a cadre of sensors, the aforementioned robotic arm will be able to “see” where the charging port is on the vehicle and connect to it.

“We are proud to partner with Electrify America in this first step towards drastically accelerating the reach of electrification and autonomy. Our models have shown dramatic improvements to fleet utilization and operating cost-per-mile when fleets vehicles are paired with automated infrastructure in strategically chosen locations. For the benefit of our cities and ultimately of our planet, we are excited to introduce this new charging paradigm alongside Electrify America,” said Rohan Puri, Co-Founder and CEO of Stable Auto.

VW and Stable Auto aren’t the first to experiment with autonomous EV charging. In 2015, Tesla motors unveiled a terrifying snake-like thing that was successful in connecting its charger to this Model S. You can watch the video here:

Thanks Elon, I didn’t really feel like sleeping tonight anyway.

What do our readers think about VW and Stable Auto’s new project? Will we one day be ferried around to and from our destinations in driver-less, electric vehicles? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

Source | Video: youtube.com

Source | Image: Electrify America via greencarreports.com

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Neil Brooks
Neil Brooks is an electric vehicle owner and lover currently based in the greater Washington D.C. area. Neil is a fan of all things electric and may be the only person in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own both an electric leaf blower and an electric chainsaw. When he's not busy blogging about the latest on electric technology he enjoys grilling, rock climbing, and taking naps in his hammock.