Volkswagen previews mobile charging station

Series production will begin in 2020.

Volkswagen has released sketches to preview a mobile charging station. It was developed as a way to keep electric cars fully charged even if they venture miles off the grid, but it can also help city planners find the best way to expand the charging network.

"The mobile charging station works according to the principle of a power bank - which is familiar to many people with smartphones - but for electric vehicles instead," explained the Wolfsburg-based company in a statement.

Each station has a charging capacity of 360-kilowatt-hours, meaning it stores enough electricity to top up about 15 electric cars. It can charge four cars simultaneously, but Volkswagen notes the station can also be used to keep a fleet of electric scooters powered up. Quick-charging technology means the charging process takes 17 minutes on average.

Because they're mobile, the charging stations can be set up anywhere; in the woods, in someone's garage, or in the middle of the desert. If they're operating on their own, they need to be picked up by a truck and taken to a charging station when they're out of juice. They can also be hooked up permanently to the power grid.

Volkswagen sees two main use cases for the mobile charging station. First, it can charge electric cars in remote areas that don't have access to the power grid. Second, city planners can move the stations around to figure out the best place to install permanent ones. They can also truck in the mobile stations when they predict a peak in demand, like during a festival.

Mobile charging stations will begin to appear on the streets of Wolfsburg, Germany, in early 2019 as part of a pilot program. Volkswagen will send them to other cities and communities once series production starts in 2020.

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