HELLA develops system components for the automated charging of electric vehicles
The electrification of mobility continues to gain momentum. As early as 2030, two out of three newly produced vehicles worldwide will be at least partially electrified. However, this also requires simple, consumer-friendly charging options, among other things.
“Automated charging processes, in which a robot takes over the charging process, for example, will be an important lever in this process,” says Björn Twiehaus, Managing Director responsible for the global electronics business at the internationally positioned automotive supplier HELLA. “Based on our strong lighting and electronics expertise, we are therefore working on further automating the charging process. Partially automated charging processes are also conceivable as a first step.”
One important requirement is that the charging lid opens and closes independently; at the same time, the charging robot must be able to communicate with the charging lid and the vehicle. This requires new technologies and mechatronic systems that must be able to be implemented in the smallest possible space near the charging connection. HELLA has therefore developed an electronic charging lid actuator (electronic Lid Actuator, or eLA for short). This allows the lid position to be changed automatically or manually and ensures that this functions reliably at all times, even in conditions with frost and ice, for example.
In the future, customer-specific functions can also be integrated to further increase convenience. This includes, for example, gesture control for automatic opening and closing of the charging lid or a push to run function. This means the actuator detects when the lid is tapped with a finger and opens or closes it as a result. To protect against trapped fingers, the actuator has an integrated protective mechanism. Additional functions can also be integrated depending on the manufacturer’s requirements.
In addition to the electronic components, intelligent lighting solutions are also an important part of the automated charging process, for example, to intuitively visualize the battery status or charge level. For this purpose, HELLA has developed an innovative, space-saving concept based on red, green and amber LEDs as well as EdgeLight technology, which is based on the experience of end consumers in the field of consumer electronics.
For example, most digital devices already display battery status with a combination of bars: a red bar means the battery is empty; all bars in green means the battery is full. The charging status display, for example, is hidden behind the charging lid and is only visible when the lid is open and the car is stationary. This also fulfills the legal requirements for motor vehicles and spare parts (ECE regulation). To make it easier for the robot to position the charging plug, HELLA has also designed a so-called ring light with two white or RGB LEDs. Furthermore, lighting elements can be used to add additional design accents, for example by also illuminating the charging port of the electric vehicle with static or dynamic animations.