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Tesla

Watch Tesla’s Freaky Tentacle Prototype Find Its Way to a Car’s Charging Port

PETER DOCKRILL
7 AUG 2015

Electric cars are a major innovation that’s set to change the way people get around in the very near future, but the technology is also driving all sorts of peripheral developments that will change what tomorrow looks like. Already this year we’ve seen Tesla Motors show off its Powerwall home energy storage system, and now the company has unveiled another bold new concept: an automated tentacle charger that zeroes in your car’s charging port.

 

At this point, not much else is known about the tentacle charger other than what Tesla has shown in the video above. Tesla CEO Elon Musk first hinted at the concept last year when he tweeted, “Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz.” Since then, the company hasn’t provided any new information on the system, but the video shared this week confirms that Musk’s earlier description was spot on. For realz.

In the video, the prototype, which looks like one of the tentacles sported by Spiderman villain Doctor Octopus, slowly but surely manoeuvres into position by itself, finding the car’s charging port and commencing a charging session.

The benefits for drivers of electric vehicles are obvious: when you need to charge, you wouldn’t actually have to get out of your vehicle or perform the task yourself, cutting down on the hassle and time involved when charging at home or out and about. That might sound like a trifling advantage at first, but given the considerably work-in-progress nature of electric vehicle charging at the moment, the convenience of not needing to manually charge could be considerable.

According to the charging support information on Tesla’s website, you can expect quite variable performance depending on how and where you charge its vehicles. Using a mobile power connector only offers 46 kilometres of driving range per hour of charging, for example, while charging at home using a power outlet is better, giving you 93 kilometres per hour of charging. The company’s public Supercharger stations offer by far the best juice-per-minute ratio, with 273 kilometres in just 30 minutes.

Sure, that’s still not as quick as the mileage provided by gasoline just yet, but then again, it’s also not anywhere near as bad for the environment, so if Tesla’s auto-charger can help make things easier, we’re all for it. Even if it is just a little bit creepy.

Of course, you can negate the whole creepy vibe by splicing the exact same footage with a little mood music overdub courtesy of Marvin Gaye. Puts the whole thing in a very different light, yeah? Sexiest car charge ever.