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Cracker Barrel Restaurants To Contribute To Electric Charging Infrastructure

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On: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 5:20PM | By: Chris Weiss


Cracker Barrel Restaurants To Contribute To Electric Charging Infrastructure

The problem is well-defined: in order to move toward a cleaner automotive market with EVs and plug-in hybrids leading the way, we need a better charging infrastructure. A car just isn't much good if it runs out of power in less than 100 miles and there's nowhere to charge it.

Governments and corporations have been teaming up to help provide this infrastructure in the markets that are going to be launch pads for the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and others. The latest player is a bit of a curveball: Cracker Barrel restaurants. The chain announced today that it will install electric charging stations at 24 of its locations across Tennessee.

I've eaten at Cracker Barrel before, and it's one of the last places I'd think to look for EV charging. The restaurants are sleepy, old fashioned, southern-hospitality-style facilities with large, rocking-chair-lined porches and rustic, country-style interiors--not exactly the places you'd expect to find ahead-of-the-curve, cutting-edge technology like electric vehicle charge stations.

On the other hand, Cracker Barrel is the type of lazy place with big, heaping portions of food that you could easily spend an hour or two for lunch or dinner, leaving your car out to charge. Plus the restaurants also have country stores filled with all kinds of knick knacks, so they're definitely equipped to suck more time than other dining locations. So, in that case, the move does make some sense.

Another factor lending to the partnership is that Cracker Barrels are largely concentrated around highway exits, making them good pit stops for commuters. According to Detroit News, somewhere around 40 percent of Cracker Barrel patrons are commuters.

The Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. will team with Arizona-based Ecotality in installing the latter's Blink chargers. The initial pilot program will be conducted at 24 Cracker Barrel locations across Tennessee. Half of those locations will get Fast Charging systems that will enable drivers to fully charge in just 30 minutes. The other 12 will have a slower charging system.

The project will begin next spring and will take several months. Cracker Barrel will charge for use of the systems, but hasn't specified pricing yet.




Comments

reply

imwithcoco | 5:35PM (Thu, Dec 2, 2010)

Cracker Barrel needs to create a partnership with Honda to provide Hydrogen stations. Then Honda could sell or lease the FCX nationwide. Plug-in hybrid vehicles are not the answer to our future.


reply

James Roberts | 6:16PM (Thu, Dec 2, 2010)

Cracker Barrel locations are perfect, typically right off major interstate roads... too bad the food sucks.



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