Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and more efficient, which is not always the case. In terms of recharging electric cars, while recharging by induction with automated parking is not developed, there will be a pending issue, accessibility. People with reduced mobility have everything more difficult, including recharging electric vehicles.
Ford is collaborating on a project with the University of Dortmund and IONITY for robotic charging points with CCS connectors, which after passing the laboratory phase will be tested in real situations. It is as simple as requesting the operation from a mobile application and opening the top-up hatch. The robotic arm orients itself by machine vision and inserts the connector into the port without human intervention.
This technology has an obvious advantage for the group of people with disabilities, but it also has interesting applications for other users, especially from the point of view of comfort. On the other hand, it would also apply to fleets, to save time, or so that autonomous electric vehicles -or with automatic parking systems- do not depend on operators to recharge.
These charging stations could be installed in places exclusively for recharging electric vehicles and that are also delimited for users with disabilities, restricting their use to those who do not need them. The developers intend that it ends up being an automatic process. The parking space itself must have been designed with accessibility criteria.
The woman who appears in the video driving a Ford Mustang Mach-e is not an actress or an extra, it is Angela Aben, an employee of the Ford Europe Communication department with a motor disability for which she needs a wheelchair. She stated the following: “Years ago I stopped refueling my car myself because it became so exhausting. My husband does it for me. The robotic charging station would offer me a much higher level of independence. “
The manufacturer has committed to this group, according to Birger Fricke, an engineer at Ford of Europe: “Ford is committed to guaranteeing freedom of movement, and right now refueling or charging your vehicle can be a big problem for some drivers. The robotic charging station might be an added convenience for some people, but essential for others. “