According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the idea for a robot snake charger for self-driving vehicles could still happen.
A video of an automatic robot charger that looks like a metal snake was released by Tesla in 2015.
The idea behind the proposal is that, once it has a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles, Tesla will need to have a way to autonomously charge vehicles without human interference.
It makes sense for Tesla vehicles to be able to charge without having to have someone manually plug the charger into the electric car if vehicles are to be run without drivers, or even passengers at times.
Tesla hasn’t begun to deploy any automated charging solution, however, and in the past 5 years, we haven’t learned much about the robot snake charger … until now.
For the first time in years, CEO Elon Musk brought it up when asked about long-distance “summoning,” consisting of a Tesla vehicle driving autonomously to its owner:
*Hypothetically* will this new FSD update be able to drive/summon across states (given it’s all connected & not blocked by any borders)?
— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) October 8, 2020
In a follow-up tweet, the CEO confirmed that Tesla still has plans for the robot snake charge concept:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 8, 2020
Musk did not give Tesla a timetable to reveal a proposal for or when the charging solution will be implemented.
The CEO of Tesla predicted that by the end of the year the automaker would have a “1 million robotaxis” fleet, but that timeframe is becoming impossible, with just a few months left in the year and the Autopilot core rewrite of Tesla being postponed to December.
Besides the snake charger for automatic charging, we know that Tesla has been exploring other solutions.
Tesla applied for a patent in 2017 for a new concept for a charger embedded in the ground that includes a charging connector at the bottom of the car.