Taco Bell spices up its menu with a side of EV charging stations
On the fast food scene in the Bay Area: A top up with your tostadas.
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(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
“Would you like a charge with your Black Bean Chalupa Supreme?”
Yes, someone was thinking way outside the bun when they dreamed up the concept of having EV charging stations in the parking lots of Taco Bell restaurants.
Imagine it: You make your order and then then eat it — in the restaurant or in your vehicle — as your car gets a 15-minute charge.
You’ll get the chance soon in the San Francisco area when a Taco Bell, owned by Yum! Brands (YUM), opens later this month complete with sides of chargers, solar panels and on-site battery storage that will enable customers to add about 100 miles of driving range in about 15 minutes and for under $10. It joins ones already operating in other states, including Washington.
The companies that are living Más with the Frisco concept are Diversified Restaurant Group, which runs 216 Taco Bell locations (and some Arby’s) across California, Nevada, Kansas and Missouri; Australia-based Tritium (DCFC), which builds the chargers; and ChargeNet, a startup that came up with the parking lot concept and just raised $6.2 million in a round of seed funding led by New York asset manager Aligned Climate Capital (ACC). They’re also getting funding for the project from the California Energy Commission's California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) and the California Public Utilities Commission's Self-Generation Incentive Program.
“More than five million people eat at Taco Bell restaurants across the country every day,” said ACC COO Brendan Bell in a press release. “ChargeNet brings fast charging to these drivers, and clean energy to the restaurants.”
Yes, not only will the power go to the EV chargers but also to the restaurants, whose power bills will be lower.
The partnership wants to expand the project to other Bay Area Taco Bell restaurants and may also expand it to other parts of the U.S., added ChargeNet CEO Tosh Dutt.
And what about this idea: Sonic Burger-like delivery of tacos and tostadas to your car as it tops up?
Adopt that one, and we’ll expect a Nachos BellGrande Combo on the house next time we drop by.