Continental Tires has confirmed that a near-production version of a new “charging robot” for residential spaces will be unveiled in mid-2022, with volume production planned for 2024.
The wireless charging system has been co-developed by Continental’s development and production services arm – Continental Engineering Services (CES) – and Austrian start-up, Volterio, and aims to make recharging EVs at home more convenient than the conventional port setup.
The charging robot comprises two components: The first is a receiver that fits to the underside of the vehicle, while the second, much larger ‘base’ is mounted to the garage floor. When the vehicle is parked, the two components connect and charging begins.
In a neat touch, the physical connection is not dependent on the way the vehicle is parked. The base and the receiver are linked via short-wave Ultra-Broadband transmission, meaning the charging robot in the base can adjust itself by as much as 30 cm to connect with the underbody receiver. The connection is not affected by the angle at which the vehicle is parked, either.
The process is said to begin automatically, with no specific input required from the driver.
Another bonus is the physical connection between the two bodies, which, unlike wireless inductive charging which relies on magnetic fields, no energy is lost during recharging. Installation of the base unit is also said to be straightforward – though no word has been given on comparative costs with conventional at-home port charges – with the prototype capable of up to 22 kW AC or 50 kW DC rates of charge.
“Our charging robot is a real step in the evolution of making electric mobility more convenient and suitable for everyday use,” CES managing director Dr. Christoph Falk-Gierlinger explains in an official statement. “With Volterio, we have the ideal partner for developing an efficient and simple solution for charging electric vehicles. Through this cooperation, we are combining the creativity and flexibility of a young start-up with the development experience and automotive expertise of Continental Engineering Services.”
“With Continental, we have the perfect partner at our side to industrialize our automated charging technology and achieve success in a growing market,” Volterio MD Christian Flechl continues. “Continental has the necessary production capacity and scaling capabilities.”
While no specific location or timeframe has been revealed, Continental proposes volume production will take place in Germany in 2024, and while the system currently focuses on private garages, an additional prototype will later be developed for use in public areas.