VW subsidiary Electrify America to develop robotic charging system for AVs

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Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, has contracted California-based electric vehicle (EV) fleet charging company Stable Auto to deploy robotic charging infrastructure for self-driving vehicles at a pilot site in San Francisco.

Electrify America and Stable are working in partnership to address the absence of dedicated charging facilities designed for autonomous vehicles. The two companies will deploy a pilot solution in the city aimed at charging autonomous EVs using a robotic solution attached to a 150kW DC fast-charger. This charging location will be Stable’s first commercial autonomous charging site and is anticipated to open in early 2020.   

As part of this agreement, Electrify America will evaluate the hardware, network, operations and billing of its charging systems to best suit autonomous charging fleets. Electrify America has provided two 150kW DC fast-chargers to Stable’s charging facility for the initial development work.

“We believe that reliable, high-power EV charging infrastructure is essential for the accelerated adoption of these vehicles in the USA and recognize that foundational solutions like DC fast-charging can be adapted for different charging needs,” said Wayne Killen, director, infrastructure planning and business development, Electrify America. “Autonomous vehicles will play an important role in the future of driving, particularly with fleets, and tailored charging options for self-driving EVs will be critical to develop that effort. We’re excited to partner with Stable to be at the forefront of learning more and developing those charging solutions.”

Stable will manage the overall project and pair its robotic technology and advanced scheduling software with Electrify America’s chargers. The dedicated fleet-charging facility will allow self-driving EV fleets to charge with no operators present: vehicles can park themselves anywhere inside a standard parking space, and Stable’s robot will automate the connection between the vehicle and the charger.

“We are proud to partner with Electrify America in this first step toward drastically accelerating the reach of electrification and autonomy,” said Rohan Puri, co-founder and CEO of Stable. “Our models have shown dramatic improvements to fleet utilization and operating cost-per-mile when fleet vehicles are paired with automated infrastructure in strategically chosen locations. For the benefit of our cities and ultimately of our planet, we are excited to introduce this new charging paradigm alongside Electrify America.”

Stable has selected Black & Veatch to be the engineering company for this project. Stable pointed to Black & Veatch’s experience in delivering global infrastructure solutions for clean tech transportation markets as a leading factor for its selection for the role.

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Dan joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As deputy editor, he now produces content for the Autonomous Vehicle International website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue.

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