Innovating has never been a problem for Elon Musk. When he's not running two of the most cutting edge companies out there (and not just the business side, he's also deeply involved in the engineering work), he's spending his free time designing electric airplanes and things like the Hyperloop. He also recently unveiled a remote controlled ship on which reusable space rockets can land upon re-entry:
Drone spaceport ship heads to its hold position in the Atlantic to prepare for a rocket landing pic.twitter.com/kXYHGVKTfE— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2015
His latest invention (well, it's not clear who at Tesla came up with the idea, but Musk certainly approved it) was revealed in passing on Twitter:
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
It sounds like this would be all about convenience. Park your electric car in a spot that is covered by one of the automatic "metal snakes", and they'll charge it automatically and unplug before you drive off. No need to do anything yourself. It might not sound like a big deal, but it could be one of those things that is hard to lose once you get used to it, kind of like the TouchID fingerprint sensor on iPhones that remove the need to manually enter a security code each time you want to unlock the device. This could further differentiate Teslas from other electric cars (the free-to-use and extremely quick Supercharger network is already such a thing).
It's not entirely clear if the robot plug will only be available at Supercharging stations, or also be available for home use. It would certainly eliminate problems related to forgetting to plug in.
Let's just be careful with that robotic technology. We know where it leads...
Update: Elon Musk just did a Q&A on Reddit.