Tesla's futuristic diner and drive-in theater charging station plan is still alive

A Tesla Supercharger station with french fries raining down
(Image credit: Tesla / Future)

Another day, another Tesla story, but this time the news is entertaining rather than controversial. In a recent Twitter conversation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk restated his plans to combine one of the automaker's Supercharger stations with a diner and a drive-in movie theater. 

The idea has taken years to get off the ground, and now it appears the original location has moved, but it's clear Musk hasn't let go of the Supercharger-multiplex concept.

The idea got its start in 2018, when Musk tweeted that Tesla was "gonna put an old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant" at a Supercharger location in Los Angeles. 

At the time it sounded silly, but the automaker moved forward with permit applications for the project. It's worth noting that the actual construction plans did not show a diner or drive-in screen at the Santa Monica, CA Supercharger location. 

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Do you want fries with that?

The project has been slow moving, with struggles over regulation and likely issues with the pandemic. Tesla recently completed the first phase of the project, but the promised diner and drive-in setup is yet to come. 

Now, Musk's tweets imply that a "futuristic diner / drive-in" is planned for the Hollywood area instead of Santa Monica, and in place of the originally planned retro setup. 

Electrek shared images from one of its readers that show a completed and busy Santa Monica Supercharger station, but so far, a food truck is the only move toward offering a meal at the site. Still, with its ownership of an adjacent parking lot at the space, Tesla has the room to accommodate the project. 

Combining recreation and dining with an EV charging experience is a clever idea, but for Tesla owners the move could just create more frustration with finding an open charger. 

Users already complain about how busy Tesla's southern California chargers are, and the automaker is opening its charging network to owners of other EVs, meaning more capacity is vitally important. 

Having the ability to eat and watch a movie means that people may linger at charging stations for longer periods of time, making it harder to find an open charger. 

That said, a snack and a movie don't sound like bad things while waiting for your car to charge.

Chris Teague
Freelance Contributor

After working in the technology and software industry for several years, Chris began writing as a way to help people outside of that world understand the sometimes very technical work that goes on behind the scenes. With a lifelong love of all things automotive, Chris turned his attention to writing new vehicle reviews, detailing industry trends, and breaking news. Along the way, he earned an MBA with a focus on data analysis that has helped him gain a strong understanding of why the auto industry’s biggest companies make the decisions they do.