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    Ford Is Testing Robotic Charging Station For Electric Vehicles

    Ford is developing a way for disabled drivers to charge their electric vehicles, for which charging an EV can be a significant challenge.  The automaker is currently testing a Robot Charging Station in Europe that is designed to help drivers with reduced mobility.  There are further implications down the road as well for fleet charging and even fully autonomous charging.  

    Ford Robot Charging Station

    Ford's prototype robot charging station is currently being tested in real-life situations in Europe following initial lab testing. It's operated by drivers using their smartphone, so drivers can stay in their vehicle the entire time, or even leave the car while the robot does all the work.  You can watch how it works in the video below:

    Once activated, the station cover slides open and the charging arm extends towards the inlet with the help of a tiny camera. For the trial, drivers were able to monitor the charge status via the FordPass app.  After charging, the arm retracts back into place on its own.  You can watch how it works in the video below:

    The automaker says the charging station, custom-made by Dortmund University, in Germany, could be installed at disabled parking spaces, in car parks or at private homes.  Ford says disabled drivers have already identified ease of charging as a key purchase consideration for electric vehicles. 

    “Ford is committed to ensuring freedom of movement and right now refueling or charging your vehicle can be a major problem for some drivers. The robot charging station could be an added convenience for some people but – absolutely essential for others,” said Birger Fricke, research engineer, Research and Innovation Center, Ford of Europe

    Future use could also expand to include the fast and efficient charging of company fleets. The technology could also support more powerful charging to charge vehicles in a much shorter time.  But Ford's ambitions don't end there. The automaker says the process could even become fully automated, with minimal or no driver involvement. Imagine this: the driver would simply send the vehicle to the charging station, with the infrastructure ensuring it reaches and returns from its destination autonomously.

    Ford reports that its July electric vehicle sales are up 168.7 percent, with the Mustang Mach-E up 74.1 percent and the all-electric F-150 Lightning delivering its best-month since launch.

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    Photo Credit:  Ford.