Tesla Supercharger Stations Could Be Next C-store Competitor

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Tesla Supercharger Stations Could Be Next C-store Competitor

A car parked at a Tesla Supercharging station

PALO ALTO, Calif. — First it was big-box retailers, drug stores, dollar stores, and ecommerce. Now Tesla could change the face of the competitive landscape.

The innovative automobile company has already created a network of Superchargers along highways across the United States. It is now expanding that network into city centers, starting with downtown Chicago and Boston, according to Tesla.

That network of car charging outposts could come close to resembling gas stations in every way, except what form of energy a customer uses to refuel, according to Forbes.

As the news outlet reported, Tesla Chief Technology Officer Jon Straubel appeared at a foodservice industry conference this month, explaining the company's concept for new-era gas stations.

"People are coming and spending 20 to 30 minutes at these stops," Straubel said at the FSTEC conference in Anaheim, Calif. "They want to eat, they want to have a cup of coffee, they want to use the bathroom."

Earlier, Tesla had revealed only plans for "customer centers" that offer a restroom, chairs, tables and sofas. It already has Supercharger "lounges" at some stations, the report added.

Despite some speculation that Straubel's comments mean Tesla is planning to get into the foodservice or convenience store arena, he said the company plans to leave food preparation up to others.

"We already have been working with restaurants," he said. "That can only start scaling up."

According to Forbes, Tesla has said definitively only that it plans to have more than 10,000 high-speed Superchargers installed by the end of this year, a doubling of its number at the beginning of this year. It also plans to expand its Destination Charging network connectors at hotels, resorts and restaurants from 9,000 to 15,000 connectors.

The Palo Alto-based company Tesla operates 830 Supercharger stations, where it clusters multiple chargers, in 31 countries.