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National Restaurant Association - Cracker Barrel gives electric-car drivers a reason to stop

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Cracker Barrel gives electric-car drivers a reason to stop


car charger.JPG

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is adapting to the greener lifestyles of some of its customers by installing electric-car charging stations at 24 of its family-dining restaurants in Tennessee by the end of November.

The charging-pedestal test began rolling out at Cracker Barrel's Tennessee units last month, the company said. According to spokeswoman Julie Davis, the stations enable customers who own alternately-fueled vehicles to top off the electrical charge of their cars while they dine at the restaurant.

"We see this as a way of staying relevant as lifestyles change," Davis said. "It's a great way to participate in the nation's search for energy solutions."

In addition to installing the charging pedestals, the company also is utilizing a higher-speed recharging device at some of the test units. The first one was installed at the end of last month at the Cracker Barrel restaurant located closest to the chain's Lebanon headquarters. It can "refill" up to 80 percent of an electric car's charge in just a half-hour.

Twelve of the locations feature two pedestal chargers each and another 12 stores will have the higher-speed chargers as well.

Guests currently are not charged for the electricity, but that will change starting Jan. 1, Davis said. She added that the fees, which will be set by ECOtality Inc., the chain's partner in the pilot, have not yet been determined, but indicated that Cracker Barrel would receive a percentage of the fees generated at the test locations. She said the chain doesn't expect to profit from the test.

Though she did not reveal details of the business arrangement between the companies, Davis said ECOtality is the owner of the charging equipment. She added that Cracker Barrel incurred the costs of accommodating the electrical devices, such as making structural changes to the pavement.

ECOtality is the manager of the Electric Vehicle Project, a joint initiative of automobile manufacturers and the federal government to foster an infrastructure for electric cars.

Cracker Barrel acknowledged that the number of customers driving electric cars is small, but pointed out that drivers of conventional vehicles would likely notice and appreciate the installation of the chargers.


Pictured top, right: electric car recharges at a higher-speed charging pedestal

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