It’s been years since we last saw Tesla’s robotic serpenous charger, but Elon Musk doesn’t seem to have forgotten the time-saving gadget,media Slash Gear reported. Tesla released a preview of the “sturdy metal snake” robot charger in late 2014 and then presented it as a feature prototype in mid-2015, promising to save electric car drivers from having to manually plug in the car charger.
Instead, the robot serpenoid charger is essentially a segmented robotic arm with a Tesla charging connector at the end — which will meander to work in people’s garages. It intelligently finds the charging port on the back panel and connects itself to keep the vehicle’s battery fully charged.
This is a typical high-tech and eye-catching solution that solves a lingering headache in the number of electric cars. Although drivers of electric cars and SUVs don’t have to go to gas stations longer, they certainly need to charge them. Tesla’s robot charger is an answer to this little annoyance.
This isn’t the first charging possibility Tesla has explored. Although the company operates its own high-speed charging station, supercharger network, where Tesla drivers can plug in power when they leave home or in the office, the automaker has also experimented with a short battery exchange system. That is, disconnect the power battery pack of Tesla’s electric car, remove it by the robot, and replace it with a fully charged version.
However, testing of the system was quietly shut down. Tesla says that while there was early positive feedback about the idea, it didn’t actually form the same popular — or efficient — place as a supercharge station. At the same time, wireless charging has never been part of Tesla’s strategy, at least not publicly. The mediocre charging rate is likely to be the cause, with the wireless pad charging significantly slower than a wired connection.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter this week that automatic chargers are still being developed. Asked if the yet-to-be-released fully autonomous driving (FSD) kit would be able to drive Tesla across the U.S. on its own, Musk said yes, “provided we do our metal gear serpent autocoup.” Asked to confirm that the Serpenh charger must still be in development, Musk insisted “yes.”
Clearly, Tesla is not short of projects right now. In addition to the rumored replacement of the Model 3, there’s the new Tesla Roadster, the company’s Semi tractor and other products in the pipeline — Musk is even predicting a $25,000 Tesla, but the robotic Serpengel charger could be an interesting diversion, not to mention many of the accessories that Tesla owners are interested in owning, even if the FSD is still a long way off.