Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Installs First of 12 Fast Chargers

Also installing "level 2" chargers at 12 additional locations

LEBANON, Tenn. -- Restaurant chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. installed the first Blink DC Fast Charging station available to the public in the state of Tennessee at its hometown location in Lebanon, Tenn. This charger, the first of 12 high-speed chargers that will be installed at select locations in Tennessee, can supply guests with an 80% charge in about a half hour, essentially allowing guests to "fill up" in about the time it takes to order and eat a meal.

Cracker Barrel a participant in The EV Project, installing Blink electric vehicle (EV) chargers provided by ECOtality Inc. at restaurant locations across Tennessee.

The DC Fast Charger is compatible with the Nissan LEAF, a 100% electric, zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) with a 100-mile range that can reach speeds up to 90 mph and seats five passengers. All Cracker Barrel locations with a DC fast charger installation will also have a Blink Pedestal charger.

The company has already installed Blink Pedestal chargers at 12 Tennessee locations, which are compatible with electric vehicles and some hybrid vehicles. These Blink Pedestal chargers will be available for guests to "top off" for local travel. The Fast Chargers are intended for travel along Tennessee's main interstate highways.

"Cracker Barrel works hard to remain relevant in our guests' changing lives while continuing to offer the genuine hospitality and honest value associated with times past," said the chain's president and CEO, Sandra B. Cochran. "Our leadership role in the EV Project allows us to continue offering what our guests need and expect while also participating in a meaningful way in our nation's explorations of energy independence."

Cochran added that the unveiling of Cracker Barrel's first DC Fast Charging station is a milestone in the popular family dining concept's 42-year history. When the first Cracker Barrel stores were built, they had gasoline pumps out front because founder Dan Evins was a Shell Oil jobber who was looking for a way to sell more gasoline as well as to offer the food and hospitality he grew up on in rural Tennessee. Fueling pumps were removed in the early 70s during the oil embargo.

"We see the installation of electric vehicle chargers as a nod to our past even as we look forward to the future with our current guests, and the next generation of people who will be hungry for the Cracker Barrel experience," added Cochran.

Cracker Barrel is installing Blink electric vehicle chargers at select locations in "The Tennessee Triangle," the 425-mile stretch of interstate highway that connects Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. When completed, 24 Cracker Barrel locations will have chargers.

In commenting on the project, ECOtality CEO Jonathan Read said, "ECOtality's goal is to build an EV charging network that places Blink charging stations readily available at locations where people need them. We identified Cracker Barrel Old Country Store early on as an ideal EV Project participant, as it is uniquely located to provide a great service and convenience to the public. Our work together takes us one step closer toward creating the interconnected network needed for a viable EV infrastructure."

ECOtality, San Francisco, is a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. Through innovation, acquisitions and strategic partnerships, ECOtality accelerates the market applicability of advanced electric technologies to replace carbon-based fuels, it said.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. The restaurants serve up home-style country food; the retail store offers unique gifts and self-indulgences. The comp-any operates 608 company-owned locations in 42 states.