The biggest downside to electric car ownership for the average person is typically range anxiety. In a gasoline-powered car you can just stop at one of the thousands of thousands of gas stations worldwide—which is what makes a gas station the perfect location for Tesla’s growing Supercharger network.
Tesla has been in quiet talks with Sheetz, which is a growing national chain of gas station-restaurant-convenience stores that typically provide 24-hour service and some delicious, horribly unhealthy food, about installing its Superchargers at store locations. Sheetz is almost a fast food restaurant chain moonlighting as gas stations.
From The Washington Post:
The chain in question, Sheetz, operates hundreds of retail outlets across six states, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region. It does nearly $7 billion in business every year. It already has eight locations where EV owners can charge their non-Tesla cars, scattered throughout Pennsylvania and North Carolina. And now it could add Tesla’s charging infrastructure to the mix.
“We’ve had discussions with them about putting their chargers in our stores,” confirmed Michael Lorenz, Sheetz’s executive vice president of petroleum supply, in an interview. “We haven’t done anything yet, but we’re continuing those discussions.”
Tesla’s proprietary EV chargers have always had a relatively-rapid re-charge time, which can still extend to half and hour or an hour, depending on how drained your car’s battery is. The original pitch was that Supercharging stations would accommodate for this by offering meals and activities for you to enjoy while you wait, and that’s exactly what existing Sheetz locations can provide.
The Post article goes on to predict the gas station market adopting a model similar to Sheetz, where they act more as restaurants than convenience stores. This will result in them wanting to attract all motorists, becoming general refueling stations—for your gasoline car, electric car, and yourself.
Tesla is said to also be in communications with other business chains including restaurants and hotels for spreading its Supercharger network. Having charging stations at gas stations is a strikingly obvious solution.
In the meantime, I’m lucky enough to benefit from having multiple Sheetz locations near me. I guess I know what’s for dinner tonight.