Published on January 5th, 2015 | by Christopher DeMorro18
Elon Musk Hints At “Solid Metal Snake” Tesla Chargers
January 5th, 2015 by Christopher DeMorro
The past couple of weeks have seen Elon Musk make two high-profile announcements via Twitter, first the 400-mile Tesla Roadster battery upgrade, and then the battery swap pilot program. The latest hint for future Tesla upgrades from CEO Elon Musk involves a “solid metal snake” EV connecter that automatically plugs into your car. But, uh, why?
The answer to the “why” question is that it will be usable on all Model S units, not just future ones built after the technology is unveiled. To be sure, the idea of a charger snaking its way out of the wall and plugging into my car is pretty damn cool, and Musk assured his Twitter followers that he was “for realz” about this. The man certainly has a way with words, at least over the Internet, and his appeal to mainstream geek culture has really helped get the word out.
Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 31, 2014
But is an automatic EV plug a concept worth pursuing. The idea isn’t without its merit, nor is it unique. Other companies have tried their hand at an “automatic” EV charger that plugs right into the car, though in practice it is slow and graceless, and everything about it strikes me as a 1950s mentality. A much, much better solution is inductive charging, also known as wireless charging, which can beam energy directly into a battery pack without any plugs whatsoever.
BMW and Mercedes have teamed up in pursuit of wireless charging, and other energy companies have already delivered charging points that can be hidden under parking spots or in plain sight. So I wonder why Tesla would go for a more mechanical solution instead. Maybe I can ask the Tesla CEO himself during today’s Elon Musk AMA on reddit.
Or people could stop being so damn lazy and plug their cars in for themselves. It’s a lot less of a hassle than standing around for two to five minutes waiting for your car to fill with petrol. However, if Musk, or anyone for that matter, can totally automate the process of charging an electric vehicle, it will only add to the advantages EVs offer over combustion-powered competitors.