Continental Engineering Services (CES) has partnered with startup Volterio to develop an automated conductive charging system. Volterio plans to develop near-production systems for the jointly designed “charging robot” by mid-2022. CES will then take the product through the certification process and take over production. Volume production of the system is planned for 2024 and will take place in Germany.
The automatic charging solution comprises two components: one unit in the underbody of the vehicle and another on the garage floor. The two components connect automatically via ultra-broadband—a radio technology for short-range data transmission. The car does not have to be parked in a perfect position—the system “corrects for deviation of up to 30 centimeters from the ideal parking position. In addition, it is irrelevant what angle a vehicle is positioned in relation to the floor unit. The conical design of the physical connector between the floor and vehicle unit permits any alignment and orientation between the units.”
The energy flows through a physical connection, so transfer efficiency is higher than that of a wireless inductive charging system, according to CES. The system is designed to be easy to install—the floor unit can simply be placed on the garage floor or bolted down, and the vehicle-mounted unit can be retrofitted to existing vehicles.
The system will initially be offered for residential use, and will require a 22 kW AC circuit. In a second phase, the companies will develop a public charging solution that can be retracted into the ground, and will have a charging capacity of over 50 kW DC.
“Our charging robot is a real step in the evolution of making electric mobility more convenient and suitable for everyday use,” says Dr. Christoph Falk-Gierlinger, Managing Director of CES. “Through this cooperation [with Volterio], we are combining the creativity and flexibility of a young startup with the development experience and automotive expertise of Continental Engineering Services.”
“With Continental, we have the perfect partner to industrialize our automated charging technology,” says Christian Flechl, Managing Director at Volterio. “Continental has the necessary production capacity and scaling capabilities.”