Three Dutch companies have partnered to develop a robotic charging solution for heavy-duty EVs. ROCSYS, a supplier of plug-in robots, Grivix, which makes automated high-power vehicle inlets, and VDL ETS, a charging test and validation specialist, are working together to develop the system.
Using the new charging solution, an e-truck or e-bus will automatically request a charge, the inlet cover will open automatically, and a robot will ensure that the CCS plug (or a plug for the upcoming Megawatt Charging System) is securely plugged into the vehicle, delivering a fully automated fast charge.
As ROCSYS points out, there are several advantages to being able to charge without human intervention. “A reduction in charging time is essential to reach the required uptime for profitable use-cases, where every minute counts. Waiting time is not only annoying for the customer, but also expensive. Manually operated charge cables can drop on the floor, and vehicles could drive over the cables and connectors. The result is downtime of the charger that could have been avoided. Moving from manual cable handling by human operators to a robotic solution with smart charging communication will assure that the energized coupler is never accidentally decoupled, thus improving the business case of fleet operations even further.”
The consortium supports and contributes to open standards such as IEC and ISO. Learnings from this cooperation, including inlet position and orientation, and interoperability around communication between EV and infrastructure, will be shared in various standardization meetings.
The consortium will start validation tests with the first samples, including parking guidance and self-opening flaps, later in 2021. Depending on the standardization committees’ developments, a solution for automated charging using MCS “is expected from 2022 onwards.”