Automotive

Musk hints at robotic charging arm for all Model S cars

Musk hints at robotic charging...
Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Motors is working on a robotic arm to take over the task of charging the Model S
Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Motors is working on a robotic arm to take over the task of charging the Model S
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The robotic arm was revealed in a pair of tweets
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The robotic arm was revealed in a pair of tweets
Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Motors is working on a robotic arm to take over the task of charging the Model S
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Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Motors is working on a robotic arm to take over the task of charging the Model S

Showing his penchant for dropping bombshells on Twitter, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company is working on a robotic arm for recharging its Model S electric cars.

The problem with electric cars isn't just the lack of charging stations, it's also the need to remember to plug them in once they're at the charge point or home in the garage. Besides needing juice to tool about town, the banks lithium-ion batteries in the high-end electric cars are using up charge even when sitting still to make sure the batteries stay cool. This means that one evening's inattention can result in a very depressing morning as touching the pedal reveals a dead machine.

To help avoid this, Tesla Motors is apparently working on a robotic system that does away with all that tedious finding the cable, plugging it into the car, and switching on the charger. In a tweet on Wednesday, Musk said, "Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz (sic)." This was followed up by a second tweet that said, "This can be used with all existing Model S cars, not just future ones."

The robotic arm was revealed in a pair of tweets
The robotic arm was revealed in a pair of tweets

Of course, details are lacking at this point, but it appears to be halfway point between the battery-swapping systems that Tesla has been experimenting with and the automatic petrol pumps being developed by some companies. What is particularly intriguing is that the robotic "snake" will be compatible with all Model S cars, which indicates a fairly high degree of sophistication.

Source: Tesla Motors

15 comments
Bill Bennett
Anyone who can't remember to plug in their electric car should not be driving a car, that would be like me forgetting to put the black one in the garage leave her in the driveway, window down engine running.
Derek Howe
I've heard him mention this before, a few months back on a youtube vid, but I think he's approaching it wrong. Nissan has a wireless charger that you drive the car over (which would sit in your garage, and it starts charging once you park over top of it....THAT is how it should be done.
Stuart Wilshaw
I agree with Derek Howe on this, wireless charging is the sensible way to go. Robotic arms are techno-overkill and as Bill Bennett says, anyone who can't remember to plug in shouldn't be driving; that's the sort of person who can't remember which way round their underpants go!
flame_can
Well, you are forgetting about inefficiency of wireless charging. Wireless chargers are basically transformers with airgaps and that hurts efficiency a lot. Knowing that physical contact has nearly no losses, I like this idea a lot.
Robert Fallin
For once, Elon Musk is entirely on the wrong track. He should be partnering with Nissan on a wireless charging system. http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/TECHNOLOGY/OVERVIEW/wcs.html
Joel Detrow
Have to agree with flame_can here, even the best designed, perfectly aligned wireless charging is horrendously inefficient compared to plugging in directly.
Jay Donnaway
Dear David. There is no 'switching on the charger' for any modern EV. That part is already automatic. Plugging in and out, however, well that takes almost ten seconds of effort per day. Elon uses sparkly proclamations to stay in the news, but let's hope that the company remains focused on delivering value rather than adding fluff.
Nelson Hyde Chick
Maybe someone can make a robot arm to scratch my ass. Are we really this pathetic that we need robots to do all our work for us?
Abraham Hatch
I have to agree with the none wireless charging method I have one for my phone and it works fine it takes more and more time to charge I end up plugging it in with the USB for the wireless charger robotic arm would charge quicker and more efficient can't wait until they are out at super chargers and home use
Oun Kwon
I don't remember whether I read this one or not. Sigh. Needs a robot to remember things for me.