Engineers working for Hyundai Motor Group in South Korea developed a fully automatic charging robot, called ACR for short. The company claims the ACR is capable of working in any environment and in any weather, making electric car charging easier and safer for drivers.
The ACR looks like a giant trolley with an arm attached to it, but despite its rather simple looks, the machine is quite complicated. It took a team of engineers nearly a year to progress from a CGI prototype to a working unit, which now has been tested and evaluated at a purpose-built EV charging station. Here is a quick video, released by Hyundai, of the ACR in action:
As we can see all the driver needs to do is activate the autonomous parking function. Once the car is in the designated parking spot, the ACR takes over. It communicates with the car, Ioniq 6 in this case, and opens its charging port, then it simply inserts the charging cable into the charging port.
The ACR appears to be monitoring the environment and warns anybody passing by not to cross too close to the vehicle or near the charging cable. Once the charging is complete, the robot unplugs the cable and the car sends a notification to the driver that the battery has been topped up.
The simple and efficient solution, while the majority of EV drivers don’t have a problem with vehicle charging, a huge group of potential users is left out. Disabled drivers can have any EV adapted to their needs, but unfortunately the same cannot be told about charging stations. Having an automated charger or ACR like this one would certainly make the process accessible for many people.
Another use case scenario is a multi-car garage or even a car park where only one charger is available. Drivers could park their vehicles and go about their business, while the ACR would take care of charging all the cars, one after another. Once one vehicle has been charged, the ACR would simply move on to the next one. This would be a good solution for office and factory buildings without the need to install multiple chargers.
Hyundai will demonstrate the ACR in action during the 2023 Seoul Mobility Show which starts next week. This isn’t the first automated charging solution, Tesla did experiment with a robotic arm back in 2015. Although the idea was never taken past the prototype stage, Elon Musk mentioned in 2020 that the snake-looking robot was still on the cards.