Taco Bell innovates the fast food experience with fast chargers for EV drivers with the munchies

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Your favorite late-night snack place, Taco Bell, is always looking for new ways to serve its customers, introducing irresistible favorites like nacho fries. TB’s latest idea: to serve the growing population of EV drivers with ultrafast charging stations so you can “get an EV charge and a chalupa all in one easy stop.”

The first Taco Bell fast EV charging station opened Tuesday morning as the restaurant chain looks to solidify its position in a new era of drivers.

Electric vehicle sales are outpacing their gas-powered counterparts, and it’s not even close. Over 200,000 EVs were sold in the US this past quarter, a record as automakers scale production to meet the overwhelming demand.

A Consumer Reports study finds over 70% of Americans express some interest in electric vehicles as their next car. With new options available in nearly all segments, Americans are transitioning to electric at a record pace.

Meanwhile, the majority of eager EV buyers are younger adults living in urban areas, precisely the market Taco Bell targets. The fast food chain targets consumers in the 18-34 range, while US adults ages 18-29 are the most likely group to purchase an EV at 55%.

Taco Bell introducing its first fast charger for EVs in California comes after the state banned gas-powered car sales by 2035 to accelerate the shift to zero-emission transportation.

ChargeNet Taco Bell EV chargers (Source: ChargeNet)

Taco Bell serves its community with EV charging

One of Taco Bell’s largest franchisee owners, Diversified Energy Group, is teaming up with EV fast-charging and software company, ChargeNet to allow its customers to charge up while they eat.

Taco Bell will use Tritium fast chargers utilizing ChargNet’s software to integrate solar energy and energy storage solutions. ChargeNet says its stations are compatible with all EV connector types, and on average, a 100-mile charge in 20 mins will cost around $20.

ChargeNet’s CEO, Tosh Dutt, talks about the opportunity, stating:

Call it quick food, quick charge. You can get an EV charge and a chalupa all in one easy stop.

Dutt continues:

We are committed to catalyzing the EV revolution to ensure it spans across all demographics. 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.

Using solar and energy storage solutions, ChargeNet says, can keep restaurant utility costs down while increasing renewable energy options.

Taco Bell opened its first six EV charging stations at its 465 El Camino Real location as it looks to add to its network in up to 120 additional locations across California. SG Ellison, president of Diversified Restaurant Group, states:

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.

Electrek’s Take

ChargeNet’s CEO makes a good point by mentioning many Taco Bell locations are in places where people may not have access to home EV charging. They may live in an apartment or otherwise rent like many younger generations do, as housing prices are near record highs.

Although EV charging is not cheap to install and maintain, I believe Taco Bell is looking toward the future.

As more people that don’t own home shift their preference to owning an electric vehicle, charging stations can become a valuable asset for businesses.

Taco Bell has a first-mover advantage here as one of the first fast food restaurants to introduce EV charging. Starbucks is another company (though not so much associated with “fast food”) that introduced charging options for its customers, teaming up with Volvo and ChargePoint.

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