Eugene restaurant adds charging spots for electric cars

Eugene restaurant adds charging spots for electric cars

EUGENE, Ore. - Frank Callciano has had his Chevy Volt for 3 weeks.

"I've gone 596 miles," he said, "and I've burned 3 gallons."

He is already in the fast lane of technology, able to start his car just by using his iPhone.

But now he can park and charge his electric car battery and dine at Cafe Yumm!, the first restaurant in the Pacific Northwest to have expanded the menu to include solar-powered parking.

Cafe Yumm! cut the ribbon Wednesday in a ceremony attended by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon - and several of Oregon's estimated 1,000 electric car owners.

Drivers told KVAL News that being able to plug in and charge will make theym more likely to stay and eat.

"It makes a lot of sense if you're using this car to have areas where you can go in and charge up and maybe get something to eat," Callciano said.

The amenity fits the big picture for America's energy future, too, Oregon's senior senator said.

"This is a textbook case for what we could be looking at for Oregon's future," Sen. Wyden said. "This isn't just some starry-eyed dream of somebody saying we can be more environmental in the future."

The facility at 730 East Broadway features 172 solar panels to fuel 6 electric charging spaces.

"This will evolve over time because I think we have as many charging stations as there are almost electric vehicles in the area," said Mark Beauchamp, a co-founder of Cafe Yumm!

The feature won't be a money maker just yet, but the station is less about dollars than sense, he said.

"Show the community and show people there's an alternative way of doing business," Beauchamp said.