Elon Musk loves to talk in geek code and drop hints of upcoming projects by Twitter, though one recent remark was particularly baffling. Musk hinted via Twitter that Tesla was working on a home EV charger that looks like a “solid metal snake” to plug into your car. Is this what he was referring to?
“This” being the OC Robotics Series II X-125 snake arm, which can be fitted with a multitude of different functions at the tip, which can support up to 6 kg of equipment. Typical uses for this kind of snake arm including boring machines, inspection cameras, and high-pressure water jets for cleaning hard-to-reach places. Designed to follow and retreat along a very specific path with a flexible tip, the snake arm can bend up to 225 degrees and, as you can see, would make the perfect vessel to attach an EV charging plug to.
While not necessarily exactly what Tesla in mind, it’s clear to me the technology for such a device is a lot further along than I expected. Imagine coming home to your garage, parking your Tesla, and this freaky robot arm comes out of the wall and plugs itself into your car. Pretty nifty, right? Musk says this technology will also be applicable to older Model S sedans too, though I imagine a transmitter of sorts beaming the exact location of the charging port might have to be retrofitted. Along with battery swapping and the Supercharger network, Tesla is making all sorts of advances towards easing the recharging methods of its EVs.
But do we really need a robot arm to plug our cars in for us? In a word, yes, and for a multitude of reasons. The first thought that comes to mind is an automated charging schedule that takes advantage of off-peak rates, without you having to remember to plug in your EV after 8 PM. It also adds an additional layer of convenience to plug-in cars that conventional vehicles just can’t match.
Musk obviously wants to live in a Jetsons-like future with fancy technology taking care of the most mundane tasks, and as a man who doesn’t mind a bit of manual labor now and then, I can’t help but think “Are people really this lazy?” Of course the answer is yes, but in this case I don’t really mind. It just looks too damn cool.