The robots are taking charge! Is CARL the answer to electric car charging issues?

Tom Barnard

17.4.2020

It could be the answer to charge point shortages - but would you trust a robot to plug in your car?

Chinese electric car company AIWAYS has revealed an electric car charging robot which could be the answer to public charge point shortages. The charging robot, named ‘CARL’, will automatically find a parked EV in a car park and rapid charge it without the owner needing to do anything except use a smartphone.

Once the car is charged, the robot will return to base and will then be ready for use by another electric car driver, meaning there is never a need to move your car when it is charged. As there are no dedicated, fixed charger points it would also end the nuisance of being 'ICEd' by owners of non-electric cars.

Developed with 30kwh and 60kwh capacities, CARL can provide a fast charge to most mainstream electric cars at around the same speed as a fixed rapid charger, such as those found at motorway service stations. 

Having parked, EV owners can summon a CARL from a smartphone app, scanning a QR code for the parking space so it knows where you car is parked. The driver can then leave and trust the robot to find the car using GPS data. It will then locate the charge socket, plug in and start transferring power automatically. 

Once the charging process is complete, CARL will unplug itself and continue to the next user or return to its base. Power comes from an on-board battery inside the robot which is charged at the base station when the CARL is not in use. 

“Instead of drivers trying to find a charger, the charger will find them,” said Alex Klose, Vice President for Overseas Operations at AIWAYS. “We want to make EV ownership as simple, easy and enjoyable as possible, and CARL provides a blueprint for how EVs can be charged in the future.”

There is no word of when the technology is expected to appear in a car park near you, but expect it to appear in China within the next couple of years before coming to the UK later.

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