Return of the drive-in: EV charging with food delivered to car

Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned this, but Electrify America is already cooperating with restaurants to make it happen.

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Electric Truck charging at Electrify America’s 200th charging station in California located at Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in Santa Clara. (Source: Electrify America)

Does anyone remember the days when “carhops,” brought food to your car at drive-in restaurants? The electric vehicle era may just bring that quaint bit of automotive Americana back again.

A shopping mall is an ideal spot for a fast charging station, and ordering food from one of the restaurants to eat in your car while you top up your EV battery seems like a natural idea (at least to Americans).

That’s just what Electrify America plans to offer at its new charging stations at the Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in Santa Clara, California.

A look at the new charging station at the Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in Santa Clara, California (Source: Electrify America)

The location features 14 ultra-fast chargers offering power levels of 150-350 kW. Solar canopies above the chargers provide customers with protection from the elements and reduce electricity draw from the local utility. The solar panels charge a battery energy storage system that can store power when electricity rates are low and feed power to the chargers at peak times.

EV drivers can order meals from the mall restaurants to be delivered to their cars as they charge—a handy amenity that will be offered across other Westfield locations in the future. Electrify America is planning to open new stations at 17 locations owned by Westfield, an international operator of shopping malls, across 7 US states, by the end of 2022.

“This premier charging station, with one of our largest offerings of chargers and solar canopy technology, is another step in Electrify America’s journey to provide a seamless and innovative EV charging experience, while also taking measures to reduce the impact on the electrical grid,” said Anthony Lambkin, Senior Director of Operations at Electrify America.