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Robotic charger seeks out and tops up VW Gen.E automatically

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Volkswagen has been pushing hard with its concept cars recently, using the Paris and Detroit Auto Shows to provide a glimpse of its plans for an electric future. The ID Buzz and Crozz have now been joined by the Gen.E Research Vehicle which, underneath its fairly staid exterior, demonstrates how technology like automated charging robots could make the swap from internal combustion to battery power easier.

Volkswagen hasn't revealed a huge amount of detail about the Gen.E launched at the VW Group Future Mobility Day, but the tidbits on offer provide a glimpse at some of the technologies the VW Group wants to integrate into its upcoming electric vehicles. For one, the car can be charged with a mobile robot that comes to the car. Rather than forcing owners to find a plug, park in that spot and get their hands dirty, the robot scans multi-story carparks or underground garages and automatically tops them up.

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Tesla captured the world's attention with a prototype robo-charger back in 2015, but Elon Musk's twitter-teaser was fixed to a wall. The robot being used to charge the VW Research Vehicle looks similar to the serpentine Tesla prototype, but it's mounted to a cooler-sized box with wheels on it. The car can be charged through a plug on its flanks, or using a connector behind the front badge.

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