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General Motors Files Patent for Robotic EV Charging System

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Robotic EV Charger

General Motors (GM) has joined the ranks of automakers that are patenting a robotic electric vehicle (EV) charger. GM submitted a patent application for a “Robotic Charging Device” to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on November 30, 2021, which was made public only this past Thursday.

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The patent application illustrates a self-operating charging method where the charging device autonomously plugs and unplugs itself into the EV when the charging cycle is completed. The infrastructure for this mechanism includes a base, a vertical pillar, and a movable arm that positions the charging cable, which can extend or rotate.

Image of the patent for the General Motors robotic EV charger

GM Cruise Holdings, an autonomous vehicle technology company owned by GM, is listed as the applicant for this patent. The list of inventors also includes Kyle Vogt, the CEO of Cruise who co-founded the company before its acquisition by GM.

This insight suggests the potential applications of the robotic charger design, particularly for self-driving cars that may not always have a driver to plug them in. The patent application also proposes using the sensors of an autonomous vehicle to accurately position the charging cable.

Cruise introduced a robotaxi service in San Francisco in early 2022 using a fleet of modified Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchbacks. The company intends to continue with EVs, with plans to introduce a dedicated vehicle named the Origin. Therefore, Cruise will inevitably need to factor in large-scale EV charging infrastructure.

Image of the patent for the General Motors robotic EV charger

Robotic charging could offer additional advantages, including improving the practicality of EVs for individuals with mobility limitations. This potential has spurred other automakers to explore robotic chargers.

Recent examples include Hyundai’s prototype EV charging robot, installed at its main R&D center in South Korea, and Stellantis’s mobile inductive charging robot, showcased alongside the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV concept at CES this year. Tesla also unveiled a snake-like robotic charger prototype in 2015, but hasn’t taken further steps towards its implementation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Robotic EV Charger

What is the purpose of General Motors’ robotic EV charger patent?

The purpose of General Motors’ robotic EV charger patent is to develop an automated charging process where the charger can plug itself into an electric vehicle (EV) and disconnect once the charging is complete. This technology aims to facilitate charging for autonomous vehicles and individuals with mobility challenges.

Who filed the patent application for the robotic EV charger?

General Motors, specifically its autonomous-driving tech firm GM Cruise Holdings, filed the patent application for the robotic EV charger. Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, one of the inventors, is associated with the application.

How can robotic charging benefit self-driving cars?

Robotic charging is expected to be beneficial for self-driving cars because they may not always have a driver onboard to physically connect them to a charging station. The application discusses utilizing an autonomous vehicle’s sensors to help position the charging cable, making the charging process more seamless.

Are there other automakers working on robotic charging technology?

Yes, several automakers have shown interest in robotic charging technology. Hyundai and Stellantis have showcased prototype charging robots, while Tesla presented a snake-like robotic charger prototype in the past. However, it is worth noting that GM’s patent application focuses on its unique approach to the technology.

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3 comments

AutoTechFan June 19, 2023 - 10:13 pm

gm’s robotic ev charger patent sounds amazing! it will help those with mobility issus & make evs even better. kudos to gm for innovating in the charging space.

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EVEnthusiast007 June 19, 2023 - 11:36 pm

gm patenting a robotic ev charger? wow, that’s cool! now selfdriving cars can charge themselves. can’t wait to see it in action!

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TeslaFanatic June 20, 2023 - 10:54 am

gm’s late to the game with their robotic ev charger patent. tesla showed a snake-like charger years ago, but no news since. come on, tesla, bring it to market already!

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