Taco Bell is one of the most recognizable fast-food chains in the country. It’s a popular destination for those looking for a quick taco or quesadilla. The brand entered the electric vehicle (EV) charging foray with the announcement of the first station opening in south San Francisco last October. It’s a decision that reflects a demographic shift in EV ownership.
Through a collaboration with ChargeNet, the network will be reliable and fast, much like the restaurants. Tritium is supplying chargers equipped with ChargeNet’s solar and energy storage technologies for the station’s electricity source. This feature means they will be available at night, which is ideal for a customer base that tends to be night owls.
Regarding charge rate, Tritium’s devices can power an EV up to 100 miles of range in 20 minutes. It won’t be free, but charging will only cost $20.
A market research campaign served as the catalyst for Taco Bell’s decision to install the network. A survey conducted by Pew Research shows that young adults in the 18–29 age range living in urban areas are the most likely group to purchase an EV. It also coincides with them being the most likely to consume late-night food.
Opening the first network installments at franchises in California makes sense since the state will be banning gas-powered car sales by 2035. Finding creative ways to incentivize EV ownership is key to getting all residents on the electric standard.
More EV networks are expected to be installed across more restaurants in the Golden State. ChargeNet executives believe the fast-food locations will open a new door of accessibility for those who can’t afford a home charger or don’t have space for one.
“We are committed to catalyzing the EV revolution to ensure it spans across all demographics,” said Tosh Dutt, ChargeNet CEO. “About half of our locations are in marginalized communities across California, providing charging access to people who may not have the luxury of a home charging station. We are out to democratize EV charging across California and beyond.”
The chain’s parent company, Diversified Restaurant Group (DRG), plans to electrify 100 Taco Bell locations in California. They also plan to expand to other DRG brands, such as Arby’s.
Renewable energy is critical here, as it will offset energy demands for the grid and allow restaurants to keep utility costs down. Not only will it help keep emissions low, but the network will be highly sustainable and accessible.
“This ChargeNet Stations site sets a new standard in convenient charging, pairing cutting-edge Tritium fast charger technology with on-site solar, battery storage, and the opportunity to rest and recharge with a warm meal from Taco Bell,” said Jane Hunter, Tritium CEO.
Taco Bell’s EV charging network is a unique way to market EV ownership toward a younger demographic. They are used to reliable and convenient fast food and can now expect it with a side of battery power.
“Call it quick food, quick charge,” Dutt said. “You can get an EV charge and a chalupa all in one easy stop.”