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Why do we need charging cables? Automated Supercharger use.

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by thegruf, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    Sorry if this has been done before, couldn't find a thread and dont think it will be the April 30 announcement.

    Why hasn't an automatic connection mechanism been designed that you just drive your car over at a supercharger and it automatically locates an under car connector and makes the connection?
    (You could do this at home too.)
    Retrofittable of course.

    At the supercharger sites then Tesla could use their autopilot software to move your car from a normal bay to the supercharger as soon as it is free, charge it and move it back to a normal bay when complete, send you update messages via the app giving you time to finish your coffee, and leaving the charging bay open for the next vehicle.
    (would make for a lot more efficient use of superchargers as the stations get busier over time).

    The Tesla ballet would look cool as hell for ICE users as a bonus :)

    Come on Tesla - bet you can do it.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Failure rate. At least at first the additional complexity would require far more service people to keep them up and running. Also deployment time. Every new SC would be delayed until the testing crew got around to testing it--that might be two or more weeks depending. Right now the emphasis should be on building out the network. Once the network is done to the 2016 level, they can go back and add features, although I'd think the first additional feature to add would be solar panel canopies.
     
  3. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    This is actually on Elon's list. However, jerry33's points are valid, so it may take some time to actually show up.

    The difficulty of this task will depend largely on how precisely Autopilot can position the car. If Autopilot can reliably hit the desired location within a couple millimeters in both directions, then all that is needed is a simple blind actuator that pushes the connector forward four or five inches on command if all the plus are at the same height (though that would limit the stall to Autopilot cars only.)

    On the other hand, if you can't get enough precision out of Autopilot, or if the robot is supposed to be able to handle human parked cars as well, then you need a system that can accurately locate the charge port (probably by the ring of light surrounding it for us models,) and then move in three dimensions far enough to plug in. Still entirely doable and simpler than many things done by robot, but much more expensive to build - you probably need something like a Kuka robot arm in this case.
    Walter
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    My other questions would be what happens when it misses the port and messes up someone's paint job or breaks the charge port door?
     
  5. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    Under the car connector (or maybe lower rear fender), not the charge port.

    Not a complex thing to do really, certainly less complex than a battery swap station by far, and they are trillaing that.
    Would get over the (likely to rapidly increase) issue of Supercharger utilisation.

    And it would be fun. Elon's mojo - no?
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Connection won't be under the car. Tesla's working on the Metal Gear Charger (snake charger) for realz. If in the future the battery can handle more power, I think they'd add a 2nd charge port so you'd plug in 2 cables.

    Reasons to use a snake to a conventional charge port:
    - simplicity: single charge port for manual and automated plugging.
    - fault tolerance: much easier to deal with failure coming from the side instead of underneath
    - crap: you really want to put a socket on the underside of a car?
    - cool: how cool will that snake look? (Never underestimate the power of cool).
    - scale-ability: if you can do one snake to one charge port, you can do multiple snakes to multiple charge ports (see cool).
    - wireless: somewhat ironically, it could kill wireless charging, which is less efficient and more rate-limited than wired.
    -
     
  7. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    I've seen the snake videos - not sure I'm a fan.
    Complex, costly, and anything near the painted bodywork is a risk.
    Might be one of those concepts that never gets released.
    Also current charge port connectors not really designed for automated connection.

    But hey if it works...

    The rest of the plan is intact.
    Bring on the Tesla supercharger ballet
     
  8. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    The biggest issue when considering under-car: winter weather. There are chunks of snow and ice that build up beneath a car that's being driven in bad weather. The existing situation is tough enough in the cold, caked-on ice and snow would only multiply the issues.
     
  9. ZsoZso

    ZsoZso Member

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    Winter is a very important counter point for under-car charge. I had plenty of problems this winter with the charge-port not opening in the cold. I could hear the clank of release but the port would not open. I had to use anti-freeze spray at the edges several times during the winter to get it open.
     
  10. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Under the car "rails" would make the most sense for cost, complexity, ease of positioning, etc.
    But the robotic snake is "cool" so that's what we'll get
     

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