Electrify America has announced an agreement with electric vehicle fleet charging company Stable Auto to deploy robotic charging solutions for self-driving vehicles at a pilot demonstration site in San Francisco.
As both companies work on developing infrastructure solutions for self-driving and electric vehicle fleets, their demonstration hopes to address the absence of dedicated charging facilities for such vehicles.
The companies say that their planned fleet charging facility will allow self-driving electric vehicle fleets to charge with no operators present. A vehicle will be able to park itself anywhere inside a standard parking space, with the robot creating the connection between the vehicle and a 150kW DC fast charger.
“We believe that reliable, high power electric vehicle charging infrastructure is essential for the accelerated adoption of EVs in the U.S., and recognize that foundational solutions like DC fast charging can be adapted for different charging needs,” said Wayne Killen, Electrify America’s director of infrastructure planning and business development.
“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.”
Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America, will look at how the hardware, network, operations and billing of its charging systems can best suit autonomous charging fleets. Stable will manage the project and pair its robotic technology and scheduling software with chargers provided by Electrify America. The firms will also work with engineering company Black & Veatch on the project.
“We are proud to partner with Electrify America in this first step towards drastically accelerating the reach of electrification and autonomy,” said Stable co-founder and CEO Rohan Puri.
“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.”