Tesla has opened new Supercharger stations in California, the largest it has built to date. These are a new kind of Supercharger for the automaker, with not only the most stalls of any Supercharger station to date, at 40 per station, but also a dedicated “customer lounge” at one of the new locations.
The new Supercharger in Kettleman City (the other being in Baker, Calif.) features the lounge, which has food and “craft beverages,” as well as restrooms, seating, free Wi-Fi and a Tesla apparel and accessory shop, as well as a play area for kids, and a spot for pets traveling with Tesla owners to do their business. There’s also outdoor space, and the lounge is available 24/7 to Tesla drivers, with access granted via a code provided them directly on their Tesla’s infotainment display.
Both Superchargers also feature covered solar parking and a Tesla Powerpack system for storing the solar energy generated and supplying the 40 stations available for vehicle Supercharging. Tesla says that it’ll continue using this kind of approach as it grows out its Supercharger network, which it’s doing in part to prepare for the added demand from the eventual Model 3 glut once it’s able to start shipping in volume.
The Kettleman City customer lounge is also interesting because it could become a model in the future for added locations. The facilities are a way for Tesla to continue to control and extend the owner experience, and a smart way to enhance the brand while also dealing with the (for now) inevitable requirement that drivers spend some time out of the vehicle while it regains its charge.