Tesla files permit for ‘restaurant and Supercharger station’ in Santa Monica


Elon Musk’s dream of building a 1950s-themed Tesla Supercharger station, complete with rockabilly music and roller skates, is closer to becoming a reality after The Drive noticed a permit filed with the city of Santa Monica for a “Tesla restaurant and supercharger station.”

A Tesla spokesperson wouldn’t confirm whether an “old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant” was indeed the plan for this particular location, but allowed that it was possible. (Tesla’s PR department spends an inordinate amount of time scrambling to explain their boss’s enigmatic tweets.)

Gonna put an old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in LA

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2018

Tesla is always looking for new, convenient, and reliable locations for its Supercharger stations, the spokesperson said. Does that include neon signs, poodle skirts, and teenagers sharing malted drinks as they wait for their parents’ Model S to finish charging? Only Elon knows.

Tesla recently hinted that it was interested in building bigger, more elaborate charging stations with retail and convenience stores attached. Think of them as Tesla-themed gas stations without the gas. One such station, the largest in the US, just opened up in Kettleman City, a small town about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new station includes a full-service coffee shop, vending machines, and a plethora of advertising for Tesla products like Powerwall home batteries and solar roof tiles.

Electric cars can take a long time to charge, which helps explain why Tesla is so invested in building glorified waiting rooms at its Supercharger stations for its customers. The New York Times recently referred to it as “charging time trauma,” identifying it as a hurdle for mass electric vehicle adoption among consumers more accustomed to quick fill-ups at a gas station. Battery experts claim that charging times will eventually shrink to around 10 minutes, but not for a decade or more.

The location for Tesla’s planned 1950s-themed station, 1401 Santa Monica Blvd., is currently a Volvo dealership. Weirdly enough, the location is around 14 blocks from another planned Supercharger station, at the corner of Santa Monica and Lincoln boulevards. On its map of current and future stations, Tesla indicates that the station will open by the end of 2018. So it may be the case that anyone with an aversion to themed-restaurants will be able to charge up at a less kitschy Supercharger station down the road.

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