Cracker Barrel and ECOtality unveil first charging station

Lebanon location of local restaurant chain gets first of 12 planned locations in 'Tennessee Triangle'

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and ECOtality have unveiled the first of its Blink Direct Current Fast Chargers for electric vehicles in Tennessee.

The charger, located at Cracker Barrel’s Lebanon store is the first of 12 planned stations located in what has been dubbed the “Tennessee Triangle.” The area is a 425-mile stretch of interstate highway connecting Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. Chargers in that network will be able to take batteries to 80 percent capacity in under 30 minutes, which will allow diners to charge their cars while eating.

“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 Cracker Barrel CEO Sandy 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.”

The EV Project is a nationwide $230 million public-private initiative is funded with a $114.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Over the next three years, some 14,000 charging stations will be installed around the country. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ECOtality, which has received a good deal of press locally in the last two years, serves as the project manager for the program.

Local beneficiaries of the program chiefly include Nissan which continues to push is electric vehicle, the Leaf.