Would you like to grab a burger while waiting for your Tesla vehicle to charge? That service may be coming to an electric vehicle charging station near you soon. Tesla has filed a trademark for restaurant services after having talked about it for a while.
Elon Musk has talked about experimenting with restaurant services at its Supercharger station as early as 2018, when he mentioned the possibility of opening “old-school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in Los Angeles.”
Tesla had applied for building permits for a restaurant and Supercharger station in Santa Monica, California, just a few months after Musk’s comments. However, the project never truly got off the ground. Tesla renewed its application earlier this year, but the paperwork does not indicate plans for a restaurant at this time.
Instead, the company seems primarily interested in establishing one of the biggest Supercharger stations in the world to date. The plans include up to 62 Superchargers. The station is tentatively slated to open in Q3 2021.
Although some 1950s nostalgia fans may be disappointed that the plans don’t include a drive-in diner right now, Musk indicated that the Santa Monica station might add one at some point in the future.
For now, Tesla’s priority seems to be getting the charging station built as part of its efforts needed to develop the infrastructure needed to make electric vehicles more mainstream. The lack of charging infrastructure has been listed as a major obstacle for the widescale adoption of electric vehicles. The addition of food services can come later, though Tesla may have simply decided that it’s better do it sooner rather than later if the new trademark filing is any indication.
Tesla has not yet established a timeline for actually adding the restaurants yet. It is possible that Tesla will partner with experienced restauranteurs or even establish a franchise model for its restaurants. This could be similar in concept to fast food chains and their franchisees renting space in existing gas stations for their restaurants.
Past partnerships for food services at stations with Tesla Superchargers include one with Fastned and Seed & Greet Bakery for a snack and beverage kiosk at a solar powered charging station in Düsseldorf, Germany. Fastned’s partners may also add food services to future stations in its planned Europe-wide network of 1,000 charging stations, including the newly announced Oxford Superhub.
Tesla’s history of controlling as much of its supply chain as possible, including manufacturing its own batteries and its consideration of acquiring a semiconductor chip manufacturing factory amid the global shortage, does indicate that it doesn’t like to rely on third parties, however. Establishing its own restaurant line would be completely on par with its preference to control as many variables as possible. Musk’s comments simply suggest that he would like to make it fun by bringing back the retro idea that people can get a burger and fries from a waitress on roller skates while they handle the futuristic part of waiting for their Tesla vehicles to charge.