Electrify America announced that it is deploying what will likely be the first autonomous fast-charging station for electric vehicles and it has robot arms.
The EV charging infrastructure company, which was started by Volkswagen as part of its settlement with the US over the Dieselgate scandal, announced an agreement with Stable Auto, a San Francisco-based electric vehicle (EV) fleet charging company.
The plan is to build a pilot demonstration charging site for self-driving and electric vehicle fleets in San Francisco.
Wayne Killen, director of infrastructure planning and business development at Electrify America, commented:
“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.”
Electrify America plans to use Stable Auto’s robotic solution that consists of a robot arm connected to the charging station charge connector:
The company described the goal of the pilot project with Stable Auto:
“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.”
It is aiming for the station to open in “early 2020”.
We have seen several other similar projects to address charging with autonomous fleets, but this sounds like the most serious one since Electrify America actually plans to deploy it.
Tesla had the robot snake charging cable and an automated high-speed charging with external cooling, but it never did anything with those things.
I also like that Electrify America is making it clear that it is about self-driving and not making current charging solutions more convenient.
Of course, it would do that, but it’s not worth the price. It would be solving a problem that doesn’t really exist since plugging in is not less convenient than going to the gas station.
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