Tesla Supercharger stations in the US aren't exactly plentiful, but you can generally find some sort of charger to top off you electron tank. But if you have a Tesla in rural Sichuan Province in China, you have to get a little creative. And illegal. And dangerous.
Our friends over at CarNewsChina ran some pictures from a Weibo forum that showed a Shanghai-registered Tesla Model S way out in remote Chengdu, happily sucking power from a makeshift outlet connected to overhead power transmission lines. Oh, and the Tesla is also blocking a narrow country road, because may as well.
Working from the Tesla on up, we find the Tesla's charging port connected to the standard-equipment Tesla Mobile Connector, which is plugged into a free-hanging Chinese-standard power outlet, which then has wires snaking up to a fusebox/transformer unit (CarNewsChina says this is a common unit found in farmhouses all over the area), and from there the wires go into a plastic bag, where they're connected to wires spliced into the overhead transmission lines.
The bag is probably to protect the stripped, uninsulated ends of the wires from accidental contact and grounding, and is better than, you know, nothing. I'm guessing the transformer is stepping the voltage to 220V, which should make this a good bit better than the very basic 110V charging you'd get out of any general-purpose US outlet.
So, there you go: free 220V power in the middle of nowhere, and all you have to do is shimmy up a power pole and mess around with some high-voltage power transmission lines. Why doesn't everybody just do this, right?
I know it's dangerous and stupid and whoever did it will probably be made to knock it off, but I can't help but think this is kind of badass.
But don't try this at home, kids.