Tesla Opens Its 1st C-Stores

Jackson Lewis, Associate Editor

Tesla Supercharger

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- In its most direct challenge to the convenience-store industry to date, electric-car maker Tesla has built two 40-stall Supercharger stations in Kettleman City and Baker, Calif.

According to Tesla-focused online news source Teslarati, the stations are meant to serve as members-only lounges so families traveling between Los Angeles, San Francisco or Las Vegas have a comfortable place to wait while their vehicle charges.

Tesla’s members-only lounge could be a preview of what the electric-charging c-stores of tomorrow might look like and the sort of competition existing c-stores might expect from Tesla in the future.

Click through for a closer look inside Tesla’s first c-stores and other industry-related moves it’s making …

Open sesame

Tesla Supercharger

Only Tesla drivers and their guests can enter the buildings, which can be accessed 24/7 using a security code beamed directly to the car’s touchscreen. The stations house similar amenities to c-stores, including access to food and craft beverages, a children’s play wall, a pet-relief area and outdoor space for families.

All electric, all the time

Tesla Supercharger

These “mega” Supercharger stations, as Teslarati refers to them, will also incorporate a retail section where customers can purchase Tesla-branded items and learn more about the company’s energy products via kiosks. Continuing with the alternative energy theme, each location sports a solar canopy and Tesla’s Powerpack battery storage units.

Elon's reach

Tesla Supercharger

California isn’t the only area where Tesla is making moves into the c-store and fueling worlds. The members-only lounges follow the construction of charging centers installed in Chicago and Boston to cater to urban travelers.

The electric carmaker’s c-store ambitions also extend outside the United States. Tesla has publicly committed to reach a staggering 1,000 Superchargers in China by the end of 2017. The company is already well on its way to achieving that goal. Shanghai currently houses the largest Telsa Supercharger station in existence with 50 stalls.

This push to build more Supercharger stations in China, the world’s largest automobile market, reflects the country’s goal to ensure that 12% of cars on the road are all-electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen-powered by 2020.

C-stores of the future?

Tesla Supercharger

With the construction of these members-only Supercharger stations in California, Tesla is sharing its vision of what electric-car-charging infrastructure and amenities should look like: a place to relax, shop, eat and drink, and distract the kids.

The United States may not have mandates on the number of alternative fuel-based vehicles on the road as China, France and Britain do, but the likelihood of the rise of such vehicles is still high here in the United States. Tesla is laying the groundwork for that future with the construction of these stations.