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February 26, 2024

Tesla Brings Back Drive-In Movies with Diner and EV Charging in Hollywood

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Jan 18, 2024

Elon Musk’s Tesla is reinventing the iconic Southern California drive-in movie theater concept for the electric vehicle era. The company has begun construction on a drive-in diner and movie theater with EV supercharging at 7001 W Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood.

Drive-In Movies Fade Out But May See Resurgence

Drive-in movies were once a defining part of American car culture and an iconic symbol of Southern California, with hundreds across the LA area in the 1950s-70s. However, rising property values led to the closure of most outdoor theaters by the 1980s-90s.

Table 1 shows the decline of drive-in theaters over time:

Year Drive-Ins in USA Drive-Ins in California
1958 4575 227
1970 3500 143
1980 1900 36
1990 950 15
2000 405 5

The few remaining drive-ins have persevered due to nostalgia and retro charm. However, Tesla’s plan to integrate drive-in movies with an eatery and EV charging could spark a drive-in revival. The concept caters perfectly to Tesla owners by combining entertainment and charging. If successful, it may inspire a new generation of sustainable electric vehicle drive-ins.

Construction Underway on Tesla Diner Site

Construction crews have been working diligently over the past year to transform the former Tri-Star Motors dealership at 7001 W Santa Monica Blvd into a drive-in theater, diner, and massive Tesla supercharging site:

  • May 2022 – Tesla files permits with the city for supercharger stations and restaurant. Site plans reveal project details.
  • Summer 2022 – Crews demolish former dealership building and clear site over several months.
  • November 2022 – Foundation work and utility upgrades commence. Construction area fenced off from public access.
  • December 2022 – Additional permits filed for screening rooms, projector booth, and drive-through lane.
  • January 2023 – Vertical steel structures erected and building frame takes shape. Charging stall canopies also assembled on site.

Recent aerial photography shows over three dozen supercharger stalls with solar panel covered canopies in the Tesla charging zone. The building itself looks similar to a classic 1950s diner in shape and design.City planning documents confirm it will have a kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining, a projector booth, and large screening wall at the rear.

Overall the retro styled project with its bright red and white colors pays homage to classic drive-in theaters and diners of the past. It integrates Tesla’s cutting edge EV infrastructure into an nostalgic concept.

Hollywood Site Brings Dining, Charging, and Entertainment Together

Tesla’s drive-in diner theater aims to serve as a social entertainment destination for owners to relax, dine, charge their vehicles, and take in a movie. Some key features planned for the site:

Charging

  • Over 40 supercharging stalls with solar canopies
  • Located directly off Santa Monica Blvd for convenient access
  • Supercharging rates up to 250 kW for rapid powering

Diner

  • Classic 1950s diner style building and neon signage
  • Vintage decor and menus inspired by southern California drive-ins
  • Open 24/7 to serve Tesla owners anytime
  • Both indoor and outdoor patio dining areas

Entertainment

  • Large rear screen for projecting films
  • Integrated digital projector booth with sound system
  • Parking spaces angled towards screen for optimal viewing
  • Retro movie snacks and refreshments available

Blending these amenities into one location catering to Tesla drivers makes the site a first of its kind concept. It further builds on Tesla’s expansive supercharger network, now over 40,000 stalls globally.

Opening Timeline Unknown but Likely in 2023

Tesla has not given an official timeline for opening the drive-in charging site. However, construction is visibly progressing. If current activity continues, the diner and charging stalls could be completed around mid 2023.

Finishing the theater portion with its retractable screen and projection booth may take longer. But there are no foreseeable roadblocks that would delay a late 2023 grand opening celebration.

The company will likely mark the event with a classic movie premiere and car showcase to showcase their modern twist to nostalgic drive-in diners. It presents a unique branding and marketing opportunity to further highlight Tesla’s expanding services and charging infrastructure.

More Retro Innovation Planned for Future

Tesla founder Elon Musk said the Hollywood drive-in theater concept is just the beginning. If successful, he aims to roll out additional sustainable retro entertainment venues nationwide:

“We’re going to have old-school drive-in, roller skates, and rock restaurant at our new Hollywood & Santa Monica supercharging station. Also an outdoor screen that plays movies & shows.”

“It’s a classic drive-in diner straight out of the 50s! Will have 100% Tesla supercharging stalls & outdoor roller skating + games too.”

Beyond the Los Angeles project, Teslas integrated with cultural mainstays like drive-ins, diners, and roller rinks presents a unique way to boost charging access in locales lacking infrastructure. The company can leverage Americans’ nostalgic attachments to these establishment to encourage EV adoption across middle America.

Retro entertainment supercharging stations cater perfectly to roadtripping families in need of dining, charging, and divertissements along their route. Tesla aims to make electric vehicles the obvious choice, and fun sustainable charging destinations will further that goal.

More Cities Encouraging Sustainable Development

Los Angeles city planners and leaders have also welcomed Tesla’s project as it embodies the kind of sustainable innovation needed to address climate goals.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell stated enthusiastically:

“This represents an innovative approach to blending sustainable infrastructure into our communities. I’m pleased it also pays tribute to some of LA’s indigenous architecture, art, and entertainment.”

Integrating green charging facilities into communities while also paying homage to the local culture can encourage further sustainable development. Other municipalities beyond LA may follow suit in working with companies like Tesla to meet environmental objectives through smart planning and zoning changes.

Conclusion: Tesla Modernizes Nostalgia in Hollywood and Beyond

As Tesla builds out its unique diner and drive-in theater in Hollywood, it brings back a beloved local establishment while modernizing it for an eco-conscious era. This innovative concept showcases how sustainable technology can mesh with cultural nostalgia and enhance communities.

The project breathes new life not just into an iconic form of 20th century entertainment, but also Los Angeles itself. It reveals a template for cities nationwide working to cut emissions without losing their identities. One can expect this won’t be the last integration of Americana nostalgia with efficient and fun clean energy infrastructure.

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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