Trio to develop robotic charging solutions for heavy-duty EVs

Trio to develop 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 commercial electric vehicles (EVs). The companies plan to start validation tests this year.

The trio are carrying out the joint development work as part of a Eurostars project called Autocharge, and 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 possibly even the MCS plug for megawatt charging. The trio are also concerned with achieving the highest possible charging performance with active thermal control.

In future, commercial EVs should be able to independently request a charge: the charging cover will open and close automatically and the robot will ensure that the plug is safely inserted into the vehicle. Rocsys cites potential cost reductions and performance increases as advantages of the automated technology, as well as benefits to safety and accident prevention. The entire system will, according to Rocsys, be able to handle the higher MW+ performances expected in the near future.

News of the trio’s collaboration comes after Volvo Trucks announced last week that it is ready to electrify a large part of goods transport.

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) announced last year that they wanted to advance standardisation for fast charging of heavy commercial electric vehicles via CCS – on both a national and international basis.

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 it was cooperating with Ebusco to develop charging robots for 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 higher-level systems.