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Taco Bell getting ‘electrified’

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Taco Bell customers in California will soon be able to get a fast EV charge in addition to their food.

ChargeNet Stations, an electric vehicle fast-charging station development and software company, in partnership with Taco Bell franchisee Diversified Restaurant Group (DRG), has opened its first ultra-fast charging stations at a Taco Bell restaurant in South San Francisco. The location has been outfitted with six charging stations.

More than 100 DGR-owned California Taco Bell restaurants are set to be “electrified” in the next year as they are equipped with ChargeNet Stations’ fast charging, energy storage, renewable energy and software technology.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to bring innovative and sustainable ideas to market, especially those that create a ‘win-win’ for our customers, the community, and our business,” said SG Ellison, president of Diversified Restaurant Group. The group currently operates more than 300 Taco Bell and Arby’s in five states. “ChargeNet Stations has been a great partner and we’re looking forward to what the future holds.”

ChargeNet said it is using its innovative software technology, pairing solar energy and energy storage with Tritium’s fast EV chargers at quick-serve restaurants across California.

“Call it quick food, quick charge,” said ChargeNet Stations CEO and founder Tosh Dutt. “You can get an EV charge and a chalupa all in one easy stop.”

ChargeNet Stations is compatible with all EV connector types and offers, on average, a 100-mile charge in 20 minutes, or fewer, for around $20. Locations are being strategically positioned to make EV charging available in traditionally underserved communities.

The highly efficient EV charging is made possible with ChargeNet Stations’ innovative software technology that leverages solar energy and advanced energy storage solutions to offset the demand on the grid and charge vehicles faster. By integrating solar and energy storage, ChargeNet Stations keeps restaurant utility costs in check and increases renewable energy usage, which is not only convenient and cost-effective, but it also helps decarbonize the planet, the company said.

“We are committed to catalyzing the EV revolution to ensure it spans across all demographics,” Dutt said. “This is why we are working with quick-serve restaurants, where an estimated 120 million Americans eat every day. 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.”

Automotive experts predict more than 50 types of EVs, priced at or below $30,000, will be available in the U.S. market within the next three years. By 2035, California plans to ban the sales of new gas-powered cars and trucks.

“For the first time in many decades, how and where we power transportation is up for grabs, creating countless opportunities for rapid and convenient EV charging,” said Tritium CEO Jane Hunter. Tritium, a leading direct current fast charger manufacturer, “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.”

The partnership is expected to expand in other areas and leverages funding from the California Energy Commission’s California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) and the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).

In addition to helping EV drivers, the state funding is creating jobs for local installers, leveraging solar energy, and supporting business owners looking to transform their parking lots into profit centers.

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