the future

Tesla Is Trying to Add Convenience Stores to Its Charging Stations

Just needs a few walls and an Icee machine. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Soon, you may have a reason to visit one of Tesla’s spooky-looking charging stations. Obviously, it won’t be to recharge your Model S’s battery, on account of you not having a $70,000 Model S, but Tesla thinks you might still stop by if there were cold drinks and trail mix there. The company told attendees at this week’s FSTEC — the year’s biggest food-tech conference — that it’s currently trying to attach convenience stores of sorts to the roadside plug-in centers. According to trade mag Restaurant Business, Tesla’s chief technology officer J.B. Straubel walked the crowd through the plan while showing everyone an “aerial depiction of a recharge center that included what looked exactly like a c-store.” (C-store is industry-speak for “convenience store.”)

“People are coming and spending 20 to 30 minutes at these stops,” Straubel explained. “They want to eat, they want to have a cup of coffee, and they want to use the bathroom.” Refueling is like a three-minute ordeal at a normal Chevron or Speedway, but even at Tesla’s so-called Supercharger stations, which are sometimes in total BFE, it takes long enough that they may want to rethink the convenience-store route entirely and just go all-in with Denny’s on a partnership. Straubel also swore, though, that Tesla has “no interest” in managing a food-service operation. “We already have been working with restaurants,” he explained. “That can only start scaling up.”

Actually, Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal, is a fine chef and pretty experienced restaurateur. Hopefully, they’re talking to him.

Tesla Wants to Put Convenience Stores at Its Charging Stops