Mobile robots that meet and greet passengers at some airports might just be the beginning of an era of automated service. How about mobile EV charging bots that come to your vehicle to recharge it while you’re away?
Such is the premise of ZiGGY, the world’s first robotic EV charger made by EV Safe Charge, an innovative EV charger developer. And ZiGGY is its latest product. It is specially designed to serve “all parking spaces, not just a few,” says the company on its website.
Because of its mobility, it reduces or eliminates the huge costs associated with installing stationary EV charging stations in parking lots, such as those at airports or other public and commercial areas.
Dallas Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) is the first airport in the U.S. to test pilot the robot this summer. The airport’s Innovation and Planning teams will showcase various EV charging solutions from May through August.
“Airports must meet the growing demand for travelers owning EVs to easily charge while they fly,” said Caradoc Ehrenhalt, founder and CEO at EV Safe Charge. “In evaluating potential technologies for their demonstration, DFW chose to display the tech offered by ZiGGY due to its innovative flexibility to reach every car in a parking lot, not just a few spaces.”
In addition to DFW, the City of Barcelona recently picked ZiGGY in a pilot project for flexible EV infrastructure. The project is part of the city’s electromobility program and is the first municipal pilot of its kind.
EV Safe Charge knows EV charging inside out. The company was founded in 2016 in Los Angeles, initially selling and installing home chargers. It quickly expanded into the commercial market, servicing brands such as Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan, Stellantis, Audi, Daimler, and Harley-Davidson.
Mobile charging is its latest development. ZiGGY is a mobile teleoperated charging robot that also provides other features to its owners. Those include revenue-generating advertising and other services.
When a traveler wants to park their car in an airport parking lot, they can use an app to reserve a specific spot that the robot will not only hold for them but approach to allow for EV charging.
EV Safe Charge plans to offer ZiGGY to its customers as an on-demand EV charging-as-a-service. Not only is it easily scalable, but it also reduces the time and cost required to provide EV charging infrastructure for existing parking structures. Customers can park anywhere, without having to look for a specific EV charging spot.
“EV charging demand can’t keep up. New regulations on parking infrastructure are being introduced daily to try to meet that demand, at significant costs,” states the company’s website. “500 million chargers could be required globally by 2040, up from fewer than six million today, representing nearly $1.6 trillion of cumulative investment in EV charging infrastructure. ZiGGY reduces or eliminates the costs involved in installing stationary EV charging systems.”
During its pilot at DFW, the airport will host five demonstrations of EV charging at various parking lots. Travelers as well as airport employees will be able to test a variety of EV charging solutions. Those include robotic wireless charging, on-demand charging, and associated apps such as those that help to reserve a charge.
“Finding the right technology solutions to meet DFW’s future challenges is a major focus for our team,” said DFW executive vice president of innovation Paul Puopolo. “We know that electric vehicles will be a big part of the future of transportation, and we are leaning into emerging technology now so that we are prepared to meet the needs of the airport community well into the future.”