EV charging scheme raises $6.2 million in funding, coming to 70 Taco Bell locations

It’s been a big week for Taco Bell fans who don’t want to admit they’re Taco Bell fans. Just days after the restaurant chain announced a first-of-its-kind taco subscription service, EV charging startup ChargeNet announced plans to bring a comprehensive charging solution to one of the restaurant’s south San Francisco locations later this month.

ChargeNet bills itself as a software startup that brings together EV fast chargers, on-site battery storagesolar power, and a payment platform in a footprint that’s designed to be “dropped” into existing fast-food restaurant parking lots. Once up and running, the company claims customers will be able to add about 100 miles of driving range in about 15 minutes and for under $10.

The announced $6.2 million funding will be used to being building the first of ChargeNet’s solar-powered charging stations in a San Francisco Taco Bell, as well as to hire employees and kickstart the company’s early growth strategies.

“EV drivers need fast charging as part of their daily routine,” says Brendan Bell, COO of Aligned Climate Capital, the company that led ChargeNet’s funding round. “More than five million people eat at Taco Bell restaurants across the country every day. ChargeNet brings fast charging to these drivers, and clean energy to the restaurants.”

Who benefits from ChargeNet

As we enter the third year of the COVID pandemic (Uugh.) with no end in sight (UuuUuuggGH!!), it’s not just the weird antisocial people and podcast addicts who find themselves eating their drive-thru meals in their cars. Heck – at this point in time and culture, it would probably be weirder if you didn’t steer clear of fast-food dining areas. Seen in that light, having the ability to fill up your battery while you fill up your belly at the same place seems pretty convenient for the customer.

The fast-food franchisees are also set to benefit from adding ChargeNet’s system to their parking lots. By integrating solar panels and on-site energy storage, ChargeNet believes the restaurant will be able to reduce its utility costs by using any excess energy generated by the solar panels.

Whatever math ChargeNet showed Taco Bell to back up those claims seems pretty convincing, as more than 70 Taco Bell sites are set to add ChargeNet systems, with six charging stations per restaurant, in the coming months.

And, yes, that’s 420 charging stations.

As if you needed another excuse

In addition to being able to get your car or bike charged up quickly, Taco Bell launched an all-new subscription taco service that, for $10, grants members 30 tacos in 30 days. The national launch of the “Taco Lover’s Pass” follows a successful September 2021 pilot program in Arizona, where a number of taco lovers took advantage of the taco a day program.

As many as 20 percent of subscribers renewed for a second month, with the fan-favorite Doritos® Locos Taco Supreme being the most redeemed item.

Electrek’s Take

More high-speed charging is a good thing – and that’s especially true if it’s incredibly visible high-speed charging that people who don’t own EVs will be able to see, and see it as conveniently placed somewhere with a higher dwell time that they already go. Coupled with the natural shade from the overhead solar panels and the ChargeNet parking spots become the ones you want.

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