Robots Set to Fast-Charge Self-Driving Electric Vehicle Fleets

Image: Stable Auto

August 01, 2019      

RESTON, Va. – Electrify America and Stable Auto today announced an agreement to deploy robots at fast-charge stations for self-driving vehicles in a pilot program in San Francisco.

The companies said they recognize the emergence of electric and autonomous vehicle fleets, and are jointly working to address the absence of dedicated charging facilities equipped for such vehicles. The pilot demonstration are aimed at charging autonomous EVs without human intervention by using a robot system attached to a 150 kW DC fast charger. Expected to be open in early 2020, the charging location will be Stable’s first commercial autonomous charging site.

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A demonstration program in San Francisco will use robots to fast-charge autonomous vehicle fleets. Image: Stable Auto

Electrify America said it will evaluate the hardware, network, operations and billing of its charging systems to best suit autonomous charging fleets. The company has provided two of the fast chargers to Stable’s charging facility for the initial development work behind demonstrating the commercial viability of autonomous charging services for self-driving EVs.

Fast-charge infrastructure

“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, director, infrastructure planning and business development, of 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 said it will manage the overall project, and pair the fast-charge robotic technology and advanced scheduling software located at its facility with the Electrify America’s chargers. The dedicated fleet-charging facility will let self-driving EV fleets to charge with no operators present – vehicles will be able to park anywhere inside a standard parking space, and the Stable robot will automate the connection between the vehicle and the charger.

“We are proud to partner with Electrify America in this first step towards 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.”

Electrify America said as part of its Cycle 2 plans, it will conduct autonomous charging demonstrations to better understand the optimal charging site design, hardware, and back-end solutions. Stable said it chose engineering company Black & Veatch  to manage the project, citing its experience in delivering global infrastructure solutions for clean-tech transportation markets.