A New Way to Charge Your EV
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robots are becoming an ever-more important part of our lives. Learning your habits and preference, they’ve helped to automate routine tasks and make things easier for us. Home charging may be the next thing we just don’t have to think about. In partnership with Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram, industry supplier EFI Automotive recently showed off a home charging robot that could make filling up your electric car completely hands-free and automated.
Like a Robotic Vacuum
The new robot charger, EFI says, is a new and stressless way to charge an electric car. Much like a robotic vacuum cleaner, you plug the charger’s home base into a 220-volt wall plug in your garage. When your vehicle needs charging, the robot automatically moves into place under the vehicle and charges it inductively. There’s no need to deal with cables, and unlike some of the wireless charging systems that have been shown off so far, no need to park perfectly in place above an inductive charging pad.
EFI showcased the new charger alongside the new Ram 1500 Revolution electric pickup concept, with the cheeky name “Ram Charger.” Once the truck was parked, the robot would start up and navigate to the underside of the vehicle and position itself perfectly under the inductive receiver on the vehicle. A disc-shaped charging pad would then emerge from the robot and make contact with the truck’s charging pad. Because there is no gap between the inductive charger and the charging pad, EFI claims its charging robot can achieve an efficiency of up to 97 percent – far higher than other inductive charging systems that leave a significant space between the charger and receiver.
Automated Level 2 Charging
For the purposes of the Ram 1500 Revolution, Stellantis says that the Ram Charger can provide up to 7 kW of charging power, which is about on par with what a Level 2 wired home charging station would give you. The charging robot can also be programmed with an app to move into place and charge the vehicle during off-peak hours, when the price of electricity is lower.
How soon will we see robotic chargers in our own garages? It’s hard to say. While wireless charging is now an option on several vehicles in other parts of the world, no American-market vehicle offers the option yet. Ram says that it intends to offer robotic charging as soon as 2025 – which may make it the first brand to offer such a solution in our market.