Published: September 13, 2016

A car pulls up to a charging station outside Dunkin' Donuts. Image courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts.

A car pulls up to a charging station outside Dunkin’ Donuts. Image courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts.

Amanda Waltz

Electric car owners in the region can quickly charge their cars on the go thanks to a partnership between Dunkin’ Donuts and Nissan North America.

The restaurant franchise worked with Nissan to install fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) stations at seven area stores. The participating locations are in Canonsburg, Crafton, Harmar, Shaler, West View, Aliquippa and Jeanette.

Anthony Lambkin, national manager for electric infrastructure at Nissan North America, says Dunkin’ Donuts, a brand recognized for its ready-made baked goods, coffee drinks and fast service, is a perfect fit for the fast-charging stations. As he explains, a typical home or workplace charger can take from four to six hours to recharge a car. Fast chargers, on the other hand, can recharge an EV battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.

“That’s the perfect amount of time to go in and get a cup of coffee, get a donut, get back to your car, and get on your way again,” says Lambkin.

The stations were installed by GoSpace, a leading site developer and promoter of EV charging infrastructure. Each unit resembles a gas pump with two different styles of plugs that can accommodate most major electric car models, including those from Nissan, BMW, Volkswagon, General Motors and Ford. Tesla cars can also charge at the stations with the use of an adapter.

Dunkin' Donuts fast-charger for electric vehicles. Image courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts fast-charger for electric vehicles. Image courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts.

Matthew Boynton, construction and facilities manager at Heartland Restaurant Group, which operates the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in the region, says the fast chargers cost $8 to $10 to use. Drivers can pay with a credit or debit card.

Boynton says the fast-charging stations are just one part of the company’s efforts to lower its carbon footprint.

“We were working toward green initiatives throughout our company, and this is just one more opportunity that we had to move toward the green program,” says Boynton.

He adds that future locations being built in the region will have to meet certain criteria. Launched in 2014, the DD Green program was created by Dunkin’ Donuts to ensure the company builds sustainable and energy-efficient restaurants. A new Dunkin’ Donuts opening later this month in Peters will become the first DD Green-certified store in the area, and will feature a high-efficiency HVAC system, low-flow and managed water controls, occupancy-sensing lights, and a white, heat-reducing roof.

While demand for EVs in the region has lagged, in part because of recent dips in gas prices, Lambkin believes the wider availability and low-cost of fast-charging stations will appeal to car buyers. For added convenience, drivers can use Nissan’s LEAF EZ-Charge mobile app—currently available for free on iTunes and Google Play—to easily locate fast-charging stations.