Elon Musk seems to be planning a restaurant or restaurant chain as his next entrepreneurial venture. Last week, Tesla applied for a trademark of its “T” logo with the identification “food services, pop-up food services, self-service food services, take-out food services”, as well as deposits for the word You’re here and its distinctive word lettering. The best-selling electric car maker in the United States has just taken the first step towards starting a fast food restaurant business.
It’s a fantastic idea, one Musk tweeted about three years ago. At the time, he said he would install an “old school drive-in, roller skates and rock restaurant” at a planned Tesla Supercharger station near 405 in Los Angeles. The company even applied for a building permit for the project. But then, as Electrek reported, not much more happened. This year, the company applied for another building permit, this time without a restaurant. Observers have concluded that the “old-fashioned drive-in” was not happening after all. The trademark application filed last week suggests that the idea is at the very least still under consideration. So if you’re a Tesla driver, you might be able to go to a Supercharger station and have someone serve you a milkshake someday soon.
Whether you like the idea of 1950s dinner or not, car chargers and restaurants are a natural combination, so much so that Tesla has placed several of its Supercharger stations near restaurants. Electric car drivers know why. While most of us can charge at home most of the time, if you go on a long trip or for some reason start with a low battery you will need to stop and recharge somewhere, a process that can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your battery and how much juice you need. This is why the CHAdeMO charging standard, used by Asian automakers, is a pun on the Japanese expression “Ocha demo ikagadesu ka”, which means “Shall we have a cup of tea?” “
“100 best movie clips”
Since you have to sit and wait for your car to charge anyway, it makes sense to refuel along with your vehicle. The roller skate servers would provide some entertainment, which drivers alone in their cars could enjoy. Musk said the new restaurant will also have movie screens showing “the 100 best clips,” staving even more boredom. He also said Tesla drivers could order directly from their cars’ touch screens.
Of course, Tesla has no experience in the restaurant business. As some observers have noted, the company could easily solve this problem by partnering with a catering company. Then again, Musk has proven time and time again how quickly he can learn an industry, even as difficult as rocket science. Getting people to serve fries on roller skates should be considerably easier than getting them to Mars, after all.
It remains to be seen when and if Tesla moves forward with this plan, and how long it takes for the first Supercharger-diner to be up and running. I hope it’s soon, and that the concept is a success so that other electric car makers can copy the idea. In a few years, I’d love to plug into a charger and have someone drive up to my car window with a grilled cheese sandwich and fries.