Mob-Energy’s charging robot drives with Mercedes.

After years of research and development (R&D) by Lyon startup Mob-Energy, Charles, an autonomous electric vehicle charging robot, is being demonstrated at Mercedes. The manufacturer has become an important technology partner. Developed by Mob-Energy, the Charles robot houses a second-life Mercedes battery for stationary storage. They lit the evening of April 8, 2019 at the Automobile Club de France. And it needed all the ingenuity of ProovStation, another Lyon startup that was holding back the Pioneer Prize at the ACF Grand Prix. Mob-Energy’s co-founders Salim El Houat, Ilyass Haddout and Maxime Roy humbly followed the project’s path to success in the absence of glory. Three years later, we find them at Mercedes-Benz. The main product, Charles, has been resized to a tower type. However, the autonomously moving robot retains its original idea and continues its service of charging electric vehicles. “We abandoned the idea of ​​intervening with vehicles parked on the road for installation in closed parking lots,” summarizes Mob-Energy’s general manager, Salim El Houat. Now startups are knocking on the door of fleets, private parking lots (cities, airports, stations, etc.) and logistics storage area managers. Many potential customers are facing e-mobility challenges and wondering what infrastructure to implement. “We provide them with economically intelligent solutions,” says the co-founder. Read more: MG Motor works with Zeplug and ChargeGuru. With the Charles robot, Mob-Energy offers to get rid of existing charging stations. The device consists of a module equipped with a CCS combo cable that can be connected directly to a vehicle socket, and a mobile and autonomous station that delivers energy automatically. Charles performs transmission with power ranging from 7.4 kW in alternating current to 30 kW in direct current. Once parked, drivers indicate their needs in a dedicated application. He enters the amount of energy he wants and the time he has. The service authorizes him to connect the vehicle and the algorithm oversees the dynamic waiting list. When the time comes, Charles will pair up to serve you. Inform the service user that, if necessary, an arbitration should take place between the allotted time and the requested energy level. Second-life Mercedes batteries There are two specific applications. One is in Lyon (69) and the other is in Strasbourg (67). The third has just begun in the Paris region. More precisely, there is an employee parking lot at the Mercedes France headquarters and a system of 42 AC and DC charging stations on site. With Mob-Energy, it costs around €5,000 per charging point, including connecting devices and hardware based on a private 5G network. “But at this price, it’s not useful to do any engineering work or block the space for an electric vehicle. Managers get flexibility and scalability,” Salim El Houet specifies. The Mob-Energy system consists of a Charles robot and a vehicle connection module. The relationship between startups and star companies goes even further. In fact, the two companies have built an industrial partnership for three years. This will allow Mercedes to supply batteries for installation inside the robot. At the end of the first cycle of use on board a group vehicle, it is readjusted for use as a stationary energy storage solution. “This collaboration opportunity is significant as we want to expand our initiatives in the circular economy,” says Reiner Hoeps, president of Mercedes France. Mob-Energy offers a way out for used batteries. For the time being after Charles became Evy, the economic model consisted of selling equipment and invoicing related services such as remote supervision of robots. Mob-Energy’s co-founders want to focus on the robustness of the system, which can charge about 20 vehicles with an average of 7.5 kWh over 12 hours. The company can then develop commercial operations. In fact, you can finance and finance the risk of the rental formula. This will ensure him a return of income and therefore safety in the face of the risk of investing in R&D. Read more: Which brands register the most electric vehicles? This is even more necessary as Mob-Energy prepares its next-generation products. With the upcoming Evy launch, the Lyon-based startup will offer a ground vehicle charging solution. Also equipped with a Second Life Mercedes battery, the Power Cube can simultaneously charge up to 20 vehicles to 50 kW from a single low-power input and utilizes energy storage during off-peak hours or from self-generated energy.
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