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EV Safe Charge is developing an autonomous robot to charge EVs in parking garages.

The bot, Ziggy, is essentially a large battery on wheels that customers can reserve via a phone app, per Fast Company. Working alongside design studio Box Clever, EV Safe Charge envisions that Ziggy can navigate parking garages on its own to charge vehicles for about 30 minutes or more. The bot will also feature a screen displaying digital ads.

Ziggy has been under development since 2019 and is expected to hit the market in 2024. Autonomous and mobile tech like Ziggy could help close the charging gap, especially in older construction like apartment buildings, condos, and shopping malls that weren’t pre-wired for charging.

The technology could also be helpful where permanent chargers don’t make sense, such as in occasional outdoor events like festivals. As EV Safe Charge improves Ziggy’s level of autonomy, the bot could serve other functions when it’s not charging or being charged, such as cleaning.

One detail that could ultimately determine the technology’s reception is the cost to buy or lease a unit. Although the startup says that charging will be billed based on time, how the exact rate compares to standard chargers could make a difference, especially with consumers facing inflation.

Fresh Thinking:

A lack of EV charging stations is a major limiting factor for EV adoption. Although investments are being made to ramp up public charging access in the US, it will likely take years to catch up with demand. Ziggy isn’t likely to replace standard charging stations because it’s less efficient for a battery to charge another than to charge a battery from the grid. That process could drive up what consumers pay. Focusing on R&D to make the batteries lighter and more efficient, as well as charging the bots via solar, could help reduce costs and make the units functional in off-grid locations.