Tesla Shows Off Robotic Charger Prototype That Finds Its Own Way To Model S Charge Port – Video


Charger prototype finding its way to Model S.

Posted by Tesla Motors on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Just moments ago, Tesla Motors posted this video to its Facebook page with this description:

“Charger prototype finding its way to Model S.”

Tesla Prototype Charger

Tesla Prototype Charger

Nearly one year ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk first hinted at this robotic charger via Twitter:

Musk Tweets

Musk Tweets

It seems progress is being made on the automatic charger, which certainly has a cool factor, though we’re not so sure it’s something Model S owners would be willing to pay thousands for.

Category: ChargingTesla

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75 responses to "Tesla Shows Off Robotic Charger Prototype That Finds Its Own Way To Model S Charge Port – Video"
  1. David Murray says:

    That is really cool, and yet also terrifying at the same time.

    1. Sublime says:

      What’s scary about an autonomous robotic snake with 120kW fangs?

  2. kdawg says:

    So that’s how they make the Model X, they impregnate a Model S.

    1. Speculawyer says:


    2. Anon says:

      OMG, you actually went there… πŸ˜€

    3. Joshua Burstyn says:

      LOL, what if an unsuspecting owner passes between the car and the robot… I suspect the plug detection mechanism could be fooled in some peoples’ cases.

      1. Cavaron says:

        Only in nudist camps… damn kdawg, look what you started…

    4. Phr3d says:

      @kdawg: all the people that said the X Was a pregnant S proven wrong.

  3. sven says:

    The video reminds me of the time I was abducted by aliens in the dessert and taken aboard their spaceship for a full body probe. πŸ™

    1. James says:

      Just what DESSERT were you eating at the time? A Mars Bar Sundae, perhaps? No….I know, you were eating at Area 51 Ice Cream in MS!


      L πŸ™‚ L

  4. Jelloslug says:

    So when is he legally changing his name to “Stark”?

  5. scoops says:

    I love all the chargers on that back wall πŸ™‚

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Gotta understand your competition. And make sure you car is compatible with them all.

    2. MDEV says:

      Well dress and dirty cables=used

  6. ffbj says:

    Not on the first date.

  7. Speculawyer says:

    This thing is awesome. Much more efficient than wireless and steampunk as all heck.

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      Ha! This isn’t steampunk, this is Matrix.

      Steampunk would be better done in fabric, with bronze at the end, sort of like a firehose.

  8. Francis L says:

    Wow! Useless…

    1. Jelloslug says:

      Supercharger station + pouring rain or blowing snow = use

      1. Sublime says:

        Supercharger station + self parking car = use

        1. kdawg says:

          Yes, this is the only time I really see this being implemented; autopark. It’s not cost effective to have this at home and I don’t know how cost effective it would be at SC stations.

          I can see people messing w/these things too. They have to be weak enough that a human can overpower them, otherwise they will need guarding. Remember what happened to HitchBOT?

          1. James says:

            If HitchBOT had one of these articulated proboscises, he could have replicated himself had he found a female HitchBot – or, could have been picked up by an elephant on it’s way to the circus!

        2. Francis L says:

          “Supercharger station + self parking car = use”

          Good point! But wireless recharge would be much better, and could recharge you even while you drive!

          1. Tech01x says:

            No, inductive charging incurs at least a 5%, of not over 10% loss penalty. Given the gigawatt hours of electricity involved, it’s supremely wasteful.

            Under road induction is even worse… just calculate the amount of aluminum or copper wiring necessary to make that even within the realm of reason and then sort out the inductive charging losses. No thanks.

            1. kdawg says:

              Compared to DC charging yes, but wireless is on par with AC charging.

            2. Sublime says:

              5% at 3kW is 150watts. Probably to heat, no one really cares where.

              5% at 120kW is 6000 watts! That’s an electric oven on full tilt. Suddenly you’re really concerned where that wasted energy is going. Maybe to heat the induction coils to melting in about 3 minutes?

            3. James says:

              Futurama Dept. – Yes, but nobody would think of running an inductive strip down an entire highway. Probable most where cars stop for a length of time. Half city block-sized strips in town, or in mall/movie theater parking garages or short strips through downtown corridors.

            4. Francis L says:

              I’m not saying that wireless will take over all cord : wires are still a pretty good damn solution. But between Wireless and this “robotic” wire, I think that wireless as much more potential.

      2. MDEV says:

        Scheduled supercharger space while traveling priceless=used

  9. Fool Cells says:

    That is freaking cool! I want one eventhough i dont have a Tesla….yet

    1. kdawg says:

      Maybe you could program it to change the channel on your TV.

      Or defend your front door from intruders/solicitors.

  10. The Tesla Robotic Charger reminds me of the Abyss creature.

    (jump to 1:20 in this short timeline)

  11. Someone out there says:

    I would like them to show off a production model X.

  12. Anthony says:

    Liquid cooled supercharger cable + self-plugging cable = Supercharger 2.0?

  13. Djoni says:

    Yes, it’s cool.
    I’am just wondering about this being more sophisticated than needed.
    Just some kind of pendulum linkage with self aligment key or prong would probably be good wihtout the cost.
    But if it come with the car, it’s O.K.:-)

  14. mhpr262 says:

    I for one welcome our new solid metal robot snake overlords.

    1. viatierra says:


      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yeah, you just won the Internet with that line!

  15. drpawansharma says:

    May be this would eliminate the problems with bulky supercharging cables and enable faster charging cables.

  16. kosee says:

    So does it still work if the car is parked 1 centimeter forward or backward?

    1. kdawg says:

      It looked to be using some kind of vision system. So yes.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      Should work if parked 1 foot forward or backward.

  17. Speculawyer says:

    Gif form for those that want it:


  18. sven says:

    Dr. Octopus wants his tentacle back. He’s got to charge his Tesla.

  19. pjwood1 says:

    Distractions like this are why we’ll probably have an all-electric euro luxury car, before Tesla has a Model III

    1. Nick says:


      That sounds like mythical man month thinking.

  20. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Tentacle porn! πŸ˜€

    Interesting to see what Elon Musk meant by a “robotic snake”, but I don’t think this is gonna be the tech of the future. Rather than using something that complicated and that prone to breakdown, you’d be better off using inductive charging. Yeah, that loses 10-15% efficiency, but you don’t have to worry much about it breaking down.

  21. Anon says:

    Can see this being VERY popular in Japan– they love Hentai. πŸ˜‰

  22. Aaron says:

    Solid Snake approves.

  23. Carlos says:


  24. viktor says:

    Is it just me who thinks that VWs robot arm for charging have become very boring now? πŸ™‚

    1. Cavaron says:

      +1 I said the harger should be the arm back then πŸ˜‰

  25. Cavaron says:

    “we’re not so sure it’s something Model S owners would be willing to pay thousands for”

    If you have something like autonomous parking, this is also needed. Don’t has to be at home, just imagine shopping centers where you Models S drops you off at the entrance and finds it’s way to the supercharger in the most distant spot in the parking place.

  26. Michael says:

    I expect that the unusual design and appearance (instead of a more standard Kuka-like three jointed robot arm) are the result of an effort to simplify the safety controls, improve reliability, and to lower manufacturing costs.

    If these really were the goals, then I fully expect this to be sold to consumers as an accessory to the Model S and Model X.

    I think that those who are saying that this is only for future supercharger stations are underestimating the expansive vision of Tony Stark. Er, Elon Musk.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Seems to me that a three-segmented robot arm would be simpler and less expensive to build than this “snake” with dozens of segments. But I’d like to learn what the internal structure is, and what moves it. Perhaps if they’ve figured out how to maneuver the “snake” just by pulling on cords, it might be easier to build and less expensive than a robot arm powered by three build-in servos.

      1. Mint says:

        They’re not independent segments. That’s just a shield, similar to what you see on the hose of some hand-held showerheads. It may even be rubbery.

        It controlled by pulling on cables around the central charging core. I think some endoscopes control their head like that.

        You can see all the cable motors at the bottom.

  27. Mikael says:

    How I would love it if they would call it “The Maker”. πŸ™‚

    +3 points for reference….

    1. Anon says:

      Dune Sand Worm Reference?

      1. Mikael says:

        3 points awarded. πŸ™‚

  28. Anonymous says:

    This thing’s intent is penetration.

  29. Anderlan says:

    I hope it’s not thousands of dollars. I also hope it’s deployed at all the SCs. This plus self driving and a few extra parking spaces as buffer might be a requirement in the very near future.

  30. offib says:

    Oh, my mind is just filth at this stage!

  31. Taser54 says:

    Adding another complication to superchargers is a bad idea. Simplicity people.

  32. Cute as Luxo Jr. But functional.

  33. Koenigsegg says:

    “Tesla owner gets raped while plugging in his car”

  34. Koenigsegg says:

    “Tesla owner Hospitalized after being forcefully penetrated trying to plug in his car”

  35. Craig Capurso says:

    I wish the people at tesla would put the effort into making a car that I could afford and not so much the sify crap, I am still able to get out of my car and plug it in.

  36. tiki says:

    The Model was penetrated at the rear.

  37. tiki says:

    “Now, I don’t have to look as I insert.”

  38. OB1 says:

    Do you people not see what this is?

    A commercial.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      And what is wrong with that?

      1. OB1 says:

        It means the great Elon has felt a need for speed…referrals and now a viral video plus ludicrous mode and canceling divorce. All levers pulled in a very short time. Buy the stock now then sell before Christmas. Watch the waiting list grow. Call it x-mas.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          Wow, that’s a lot of stock timing pulled from a video of a robot prototype.