Taco Bell Opens a California Store Loaded with Charging Stations

QSR Magazine

ChargeNet Stations, an electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging station development and software company, in partnership with Taco Bell franchisee Diversified Restaurant Group (DRG), opened its first ultra-fast charging stations at a South San Francisco Taco Bell this morning. ChargeNet Stations 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,” says 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.

“We are committed to catalyzing the EV revolution to ensure it spans across all demographics,” Dutt says. “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.”

More than 100 California Taco Bell restaurants, owned by DRG, are set to be “electrified” in the next year, meaning they will be equipped with ChargeNet Stations’ fast charging, energy storage, renewable energy, and software technology. The company will be expanding to other brands, soon to be announced, as well.

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.

ChargeNet Stations’ debut Taco Bell location, at 465 El Camino Real, is operated by Taco Bell’s franchisee Diversified Restaurant Group and has six charging stations offering customers a clean, convenient EV charge.

“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,” says SG Ellison, President of Diversified Restaurant Group. The group currently operates more than 300 Taco Bell and Arby’s in five states and is growing rapidly. “ChargeNet Stations has been a great partner and we’re looking forward to what the future holds.”

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.

“We’re solving a demand problem we know is coming,” adds Dutt. “What we’re doing is creating a seamless opportunity for a quick charge at a convenient place and for a good price – and it’s good for the planet.”

“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,” says Tritium CEO Jane Hunter. Tritium, a leading direct current fast charger manufacturer, has sold more than 7,600 chargers across 42 countries, and recently opened a Tennessee factory to increase U.S. supply capabilities and produce Buy America-compliant chargers in 2023. “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.

ChargeNet Stations has received funding from Aligned Climate Capital, the San Diego Angels, Tech Coast Angels, and the LACI Impact Fund.