Innovations in charging infrastructure
How an e-mobility charging infrastructure which meets demand can be created in the future using innovative solutions is the task of Innovation Development at Volkswagen Group Components. It deals with the following questions: Which approach goes with which use case? What solutions are best for the home, on the road and in car parks, for example? And how can quicker charging versus charging with alternating current be achieved in these situations?
The flexible quick-charging station
It can be installed almost anywhere it’s needed or where charging infrastructure is not yet in place. When connected to the low voltage grid, the station becomes a permanent charging point without the cost and effort required for a comparable fixed charging station. The built-in battery pack can store power, meaning that it can be disconnected from the grid. This then eases the strain on the power grid, particularly at peak times. If electricity generated from renewable sources is fed into the charging station and temporarily stored there, the station enables carbon-neutral mobility. To ensure the sustainable use of valuable resources, the charging station is also designed to be able to use old batteries from electric vehicles as power storage units in future. Thanks to quick-charging technology, two electric vehicles can be charged at the same time with up to 150 kW. Since the beginning of 2020, 12 charging stations have been in service across the city of Wolfsburg. E.ON is one of the first cooperation partners to come on board and is integrating flexible charging stations into its charging network. Production will begin at the Hannover site in 2020. The joint venture Innovative Charging Solutions (ICS) was founded together with the start-up Shanghai DU-POWER New Energy Technical Co. Ltd. to produce the charging station for the rapidly expanding market for e-mobility in China. Local production has already started. Production at the Hanover site started in January 2021 with the pre-series.
“You are interested in the flexible quick charging station for use in Your company or municipality? Then please feel free to contact us.“
“A comprehensive charging infrastructure is the key to the success of electric vehicles. In terms of technical development at Volkswagen Group Components, we are conducting research into different approaches to the establishment of a demand-based charging infrastructure. The focus is on customer-oriented, intelligent and flexible approaches to charging. Some products have already been successfully developed and tested. The flexible charging station and the bidirectional DC wallbox thus form the basis of a future DC charging product range. “It’s a visionary prototype, which can be made into reality quite quickly, if the general conditions are right.” －
Volkswagen Group Components
The mobile charging robot
his is a visionary prototype designed for car parks. It involves considerably less effort and expense for installation than providing each parking space with electricity. The prototype consists of a compact, self-driving robot and several mobile power storage units containing energy of around 25 kWh each. This solution means that the charging infrastructure comes to the vehicle instead of the reverse. The self-driving robot is equipped with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors and can move around completely autonomously. The communication between the charging robot and the vehicle takes place via V2X or with an app. It is able to connect a power storage unit to an electric vehicle autonomously using its robotic arm and charge the vehicle with direct current of up to 50 kW. During the charging procedure the movable power storage unit remains next to the vehicle and the robot is free to charge other electric vehicles. Afterwards, the robot then comes to collect the power storage unit. It means that car park operators have a quick and easy solution that provides every parking space with electricity.
The mobile charging robot and the flexible quick charging station in the film
The DC wallbox
This is the charging solution for the home. As with the flexible charging station and the mobile charging robot, it is based on the use of direct current (DC) charging technology. This means that the electric vehicle’s high-voltage battery can receive a direct, increased level of charge. The DC wallbox from Volkswagen Group Components is designed for vehicles with a CCS charging socket and delivers a charge of up to 22 kW. With a view to the future, the DC wallbox is already equipped for bidirectional charging, which allows charging in both directions. If an electric vehicle has this function, it can, if required, release the electricity stored in the high-voltage battery back into the electricity grid thanks to intelligent charging management. This means, for example, that the electric vehicle can be used as power storage for the home or for extra power for the electricity grid during peaks. The pilot phase with real operation at five factory sites as well as in the residential quarter "Steimker Gärten" in Wolfsburg has already started.
Innovation in e-mobility
Electrifying classic cars
The use of an e-kit involves the professional, standardised conversion of classics such as the Beetle or the VW Bus to electric vehicles. The conversion only uses mutually compatible new parts from the production range of Volkswagen Group Components. The electric drive, the 1-speed gearbox and the battery system are based on corresponding components used in the Group’s small electric vehicles. The conversion, sales and service are undertaken by the partner company eClassics, based in Renningen near Stuttgart. It is specialised in the conversion of classic vehicles to electric ones. The use of the e-kit means the vehicles can be driven without local emissions.
It is also possible to convert most other classic vehicles to electric ones based on this approach. eClassics and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles together with Volkswagen Group Components were thus able to build the first electric VW Bus. Conversion solutions for the T1, T2 and T3 buses have been developed and can also be purchased through eClassics. Solutions for other classic vehicles are currently being created and implemented. There is also the possibility that the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) could be used. This would open up further prospects, primarily in regard to performance and range.