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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Car Charging Robot

I have been looking at the supply chain aspects of EV Charging

Lawrence Ulrich,   IEEE Spectrum

The vision of Ziggy, a mobile EV charger designed to tool around parking lots like a plug-wielding valet, raises an important question: Do robots take tips?

EV owners may be happy to toss Ziggy a fiver if it can hold an open parking spot and deliver electrons to fill up the car’s battery, with no worries over fixed chargers being occupied by other cars. As importantly, site operators could lease turnkey robo-chargers without the pricey hassles of charger installation, or setting aside precious real estate for chargers that are often underutilized.

The flexible, scalable robots are the brainchild of Ziggy’s inventor, Caradoc Ehrenhalt; he’s a big David Bowie fan and founder and CEO of EV Safe Charge. The Los Angeles company plans to bring its four-wheeled robots to parking facilities, hotels, shopping and entertainment centers, fleet operators, and residential properties. Early adopters, slated for late 2023 or early 2024, include The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Opera Plaza in San Francisco; and a Holiday Inn Express in Redwood City, Calif.

Ehrenhalt says Ziggy can help quell consumer worries over charger availability that some surveys show to be the leading barrier to EV adoption. The black-and-white robot is built around a beefy lithium-ion battery, with GPS, camera vision, sensors, speakers and microphone. From its home base, Ziggy slurps up a 50-kilowatt-hour charge from the grid, batteries, or solar power. Users summon the robot via a mobile app or in-vehicle infotainment system. Ziggy then motors over to hold a reserved parking space where owners plug in and charge at up to a 19.2-kWh pace, roughly the peak of current Level 2 onboard capabilities. (The company plans to develop DC fast-charging capability at roughly 50 kilowatts, well below the 150-to-350-kWh peaks of the most powerful ultrafast chargers, but still a useful jolt).

The first Ziggys will be remotely piloted by humans, using a camera feed and wireless communications. Brakes and redundant ultrasonic and lidar sensors ensure Ziggy doesn’t ding cars or bump into pedestrians, and the robot can announce its presence with audible or visual warnings. Like a superpowered Roomba, the roughly 450-kilogram robot can turn on a dime or squeeze through tricky spots. And Ziggy could solve a vexing issue for EV owners who don’t plan to drive away after a battery fill-up: The need to move their car within minutes after charging is completed, to avoid additional fees and the burning anger of waiting users.  ...    '

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