Robotic charging solutions for heavy-duty EVs
Robotics specialist Rocsys is now cooperating with Grivix and VDL Enabling Transport Solutions to develop a robotic charging solution for high-performance charging of heavy electric commercial vehicles. The consortium plans to start validation tests this year.
The trio is carrying out the joint development work as part of a Eurostars project called Autocharge. The project participants have set themselves the goal of creating a solution that allows fully automatic fast charging of electric trucks or electric buses via the CCS plug or even the announced MCS plug for megawatt charging. Automation is only one concern here. The trio is also concerned with achieving the highest possible charging performance with active thermal control.
In the future, electric commercial vehicles should be able to independently request a charge. The charging cover will then open and close automatically and the robot will ensure that the plug is safely inserted into the vehicle. In addition to the topics of safety and accident prevention, Rocsys also cites potential cost reductions and performance increases as advantages of the automated technology, insisting that the entire system will be able to handle the higher MW+ performances expected in the near future.
Depending on the developments of the standards committees, a solution for automated megawatt charging is expected from 2022. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the German Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE) already announced a little over a year ago that they wanted to advance standardisation for fast charging of heavy commercial vehicles via CCS – also internationally. While VDA and VDE are still in the process of defining such a charging standard, the industry is already working on corresponding truck solutions. The CharIN initiative – founded by German carmakers and suppliers and now with more than 150 international members – is preparing a truck charging standard that is designed for at least two megawatts of charging power.
At the end of 2020, the robotics specialist Rocsys announced a cooperation with Ebusco to develop charging robots for bus depots. The two companies want to automate bus depots. A demo installation is to be realised at Ebusco’s headquarters in Deurne. In parallel, the partners are further developing the robot so that it can serve several buses at the same time in the future. Ebusco and Rocsys also want to further standardise the communication between the vehicle, the charger, the robot and the higher-level systems.