Tesla has Supercharger stations all over the map, and in 2018, as thousands of new Tesla owners hit the road in newly minted Tesla Model 3 sedans — the company’s first entry-level electric car — those drivers will be looking for convenient places to plug in their cars.
To date, Tesla has 1,191 Supercharger stations, with 9,184 Superchargers across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
But one Supercharger location in California, located at the midpoint between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is, at least for now, the largest of them all.
Situated amid swaths of farmland and a smattering of gas stations, fast-food restaurants, and motels, the Tesla Supercharger station in Kettleman City, California, sits tucked away from the main street that runs underneath the 5 Freeway, on a corner lot that used to be a Burger King drive-thru.
Across the street to the east is a gas station and a Carl’s Jr., to the south an auto-repair shop, and to the west two budget hotels.
Farther south across State Route 41, there’s a recently built strip mall, curiously named Bravo Farms, whose architecture was designed to resemble old Western saloons of generations past.
The Tesla Supercharger station, unlike the Burger King before it, makes use of nearly all the available space. An expanse of covered solar parking shelters the 40 Superchargers on the lot. A private lounge invites Tesla travelers to rest in plush armchairs, plug in their mobile devices, and enjoy soothing music.
There are vending machines, restrooms, and Tesla staff inside the lounge. A separate display section shows off Tesla Energy products: the solar panels and Powerwall battery packs it sells to residential and commercial customers.
On one of the two large flat-screen displays inside the lounge is a real-time world map with the locations of every Supercharger station on the planet. There are three numbers at the bottom of the screen — kilowatt-hours delivered, miles enabled, and gallons of gasoline saved — that tick up as you watch.
This is now Tesla’s domain. Its presence in an otherwise folksy enclave — one of at least six on the route here from Los Angeles — is a clear sign that Tesla is gearing up to own the electric-car future.