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Tesla’s Supercharger drive-in could become a reality — and here’s what it might look like

tesla supercharger drive-in renders
(Image credit: Howard Models)

Back in 2018 Elon Musk announced plans (opens in new tab) to build an “old school drive-in” at a Supercharger location in Los Angeles. Then nothing ever came of it, which meant the idea was forgotten by the world at large — remembered only as one of the Tesla CEO’s bizarre and unlikely promises.

Except Tesla apparently didn’t give up on the plan, and the project has still been in development out of the public eye. Until last month, anyway, when it filed construction plans (opens in new tab) with the city of LA. Today we get to see some artist renders (opens in new tab) of what the site could look like. 

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Musk originally announced the site would be an “old-school drive-in, roller skates * rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in Los Angeles”. In other words it sounds like a huge dose of ‘50s nostalgia with a modern electrical twist.

The automaker even filed for plans to build a site in Santa Monica (opens in new tab) a few months after the announcement. Sadly those plans faltered thanks to local regulations. But in a weird twist of fate, Tesla’s proposed site is on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Funny how that works, right?

tesla supercharger drive-in plans

Plans for the diner at the LA Supercharger drive-in (Image credit: Tesla)

According to the plans the site will feature 29 Supercharger stalls, two movie screens, and a semi-circular two-story diner. Whether it will actually be called Milliways, like Douglas Adams’ eponymous restaurant at the end of the universe, is unclear.

But it seems the designer threw in a bunch of nerdy and Tesla-related Easter eggs for die-hard Musk fans to find, including an image of the Tesla Roadster that's cluttering up the path to Mars.

The idea of a drive-in with EV chargers isn’t a uniquely Tesla idea. In fact, Electrify America announced a partnership with the Westfield mall chain (opens in new tab) last year, letting EV openers have food delivered to their car while the battery recharges.

Of course. Tesla’s plan takes it one step further, giving drivers the chance to watch movies on the big screen and eat in the on-site restaurant. I would be surprised if drivers couldn’t order food to their charging cars either, which is where the roller skates would likely come into play.

There’s no timeline on when this drive-in might open, assuming Tesla is granted the necessary permissions and permits to go ahead with construction. But it does show that the electric car charging landscape is changing. And in a way that seems a little bit more sensible than trying to rework the gas station model for the modern age.

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.