Charles, the charging robot from Mercedes-Benz and Mob-Energy

© Mercedes-Benz Mob-Energy deployed a “Charles” charging robot at its Mercedes-Benz France headquarters in Montigny-le-Bretonneux on 8 November 2022 (78). The robot thus complements the 42 alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) charging stations already available in the field. The Charles charging robot, designed by startup Mob-Energy, is powered by a second-life Mercedes-Benz Energy battery. This subsidiary of the Mercedes-Benz AG group is developing innovations in the field of electric vehicles, especially batteries for stationary applications. “Secondary life batteries can no longer tow vehicles, but provide significant storage capacity. Charles stores energy in the battery and then supplies it when needed. This makes it possible to fully autonomously charge any electric vehicle,” said the creators. Before placing the charging robot on site, the technician will “3D model the parking lot in less than an hour. The technician will mark the infrastructure and movement rules (one-way, two-way, approved or unapproved areas, etc.) necessary for the robot to operate. Routes is displayed, Charles optimizes the route for the varying loads of the day. The system is designed to be scalable. In a matter of days, the robot can add connection modules to connect and share the connection between two or three robots.” , detailed Mob-Energy. How the Charles Robot Works The Charles charging robot ships with an electrical cabinet. “It can be installed anywhere on the site, and the robot can be recharged,” said Mob-Energy. To travel independently at a speed of 4.9 km/h, Charles is equipped with a camera, an ultrasonic distance sensor, two 3D LIDARs and three 2D LIDARs. So it recognizes objects and pedestrians. Before the charging trip, the Charles robot connects to the “ME Charge” mobile application. Prioritize vehicles based on parking time, charging requirements, and the power the vehicle accommodates. “If the robot is not available, the advanced scheduling software will suggest that the user park the vehicle longer while it is charging. Or, if not selected, it will give you the right amount of energy. The system is optimized to maximize uptime without rejecting orders,” Mob-Energy assured. The navigation data from Charles, the software that controls the charging, is recorded on the computer. Two other computers monitor his status and behavior. Thus, the Mob-Energy operator can access Charles’ camera to determine his location, access charging session information, and control him if necessary. So he can supervise multiple robots remotely. Parking lot operators can use the “ME Analytics” platform to model parking lots and monitor charging solutions. In addition to deploying and configuring Charles, Mob-Energy also provides “ME Sight” charge management software. This interface is used to define the characteristics of the service: How to charge the vehicle with Charles, including defining the maximum amount of energy per order, number of orders authorized, access charges and cost per kWh of service? To charge your vehicle, you must first download the ME Charge application. Then scan the QR code to access the service. Then indicate the number of parking spaces, estimated parking time, and desired amount of energy. The charging power provided is between 7.4 kW in AC and 30 kW in DC. The ME Charge application also displays charge price and other information such as charge start and end in the form of notifications. Mercedes-Benz said, “You can also cancel your recharge order at any time. The ME Charge application ensures the security of your banking transactions thanks to the 3D Secure protocol. Mob-Energy has designed a mobile plug-and-play connectivity module that looks like a carry-on suitcase to charge your electric vehicle, van or motorcycle. The connection module is located in front of the parking space. Includes a CCS combo charging cable that users need to connect to their car. Users can also charge from AC to 7.4kW using their own cable via the Type 2 connector available on this module. On the other hand, the user should think about unfolding the shoes of the module. Charles automatically connects for charging. Connectivity module © Mercedes-Benz © Mercedes-Benz © Mercedes-Benz “ME Charge” mobile application © Mercedes-Benz Charging Complementary solution for company vehicles? Thus, the robot optimizes “charging in the company parking lot”. “Building an electric charging infrastructure in a parking lot means significant costs associated with the necessary connectivity work. In addition to the cost of installation, the provision of terminals limits the possibility of receiving a parking lot by specifying a charging location. With mobile, connectivity and flexibility, Charles can densify the mesh of charging networks without monopolizing parking spaces without heavy and expensive infrastructure. A single cable connected to the network is sufficient to distribute the solution over the entire floor. The Charles robot charges about 20 electric vehicles per day, averaging 7.5 kWh per vehicle for 12 hours a day. Remember, 100 robots, Charles, deployed by 2025 weren’t made recently. He was one of the nominees for the 2022 Innovation Award by Synox at the Flotauto Meetings in Paris. Mob-Energy and Mercedes machines are already available in several car parks in France. And the partners plan to deploy 100 robots by the end of 2025. In fact, they signed a three-year contract. This includes the supply of hundreds of battery packs per year. The next-generation robot will be equipped with a Mercedes 22 kWh battery. “We will also incorporate a larger pack to deliver up to 40 kWh of charging power from DC to 45 kW,” Mob-Energy announced. Mercedes-Benz France and Mob-Energy are also collaborating on the “Evy” project, a power cube equipped with a Second Life battery for Mercedes vehicles. “This modular solution charges up to 20 vehicles simultaneously. And this can be done up to 50 kW by simply reaching low power by storing energy during off-peak hours or by utilizing self-generated energy,” the two partners stated.
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