Industry News | July 2, 2008

El Pollo Loco Using Electric Delivery Vehicles

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El Pollo Loco is driving its marketing efforts in a new way—literally—through the use of a three-wheel, sub compact electric car covered in bumper to bumper brand messaging and emblazoned with scorching red flames against a purple background.

El Pollo Loco, which has over 400 fast casual restaurants, was searching for a delivery vehicle that would act as a moving billboard for the restaurant’s new delivery and catering restaurant in the Beverly Hills and Century City areas, as well as contribute to the company’s environmental stewardship efforts. The cars make an eye catching statement as they whirl quietly down the street with the corporate branding wrap. In addition, they produce 97 percent less emissions than a gas powered vehicle. A single electric vehicle driven for 30 miles a day in place of a gas vehicle saves about 700 gallons of gas per year.

“People stop in their tracks and can’t stop staring at these cars wrapped with the El Pollo Loco branding. Not only does it make a statement about driving electric vehicles, it acts like a green billboard for the restaurant,” says Karen Eadon, El Pollo Loco’s chief marketing officer. “One of our drivers arrived at an office recently where more than 20 people came out to take pictures of the car. The vehicle draws an incredible amount of attention.”

El Pollo Loco purchased the Xebra electric vehicles from Santa-Rosa-based ZAPâ, a company that offers a full line of electric and advanced technology vehicles. With a top speed of 40 miles per hour, the Xebra is 10 feet long, 5 feet wide, and slightly over 5 feet high with a payload of 1,000 pounds. It plugs into a 110-volt outlet for a full charge in up to six hours and a 50 percent charge in up to 1.5 hours. The range on a single charge is 20 miles. The cost to run a Xebra, which retails for about $12,000, is about three cents a mile, compared to 13.3 cents a mile for a gas vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon at $4 a gallon. Maintenance costs are one-third that of gas vehicles due to the reduction of moving parts, less wear, and replacements.

“With gas at record high prices, we offer companies the chance to lead the way in energy conservation. Not only do the electric vehicles send a green message, our technologies have the potential to significantly impact a company’s bottom line and impact the economy as a whole,” says ZAP CEO Steve Schneider.

Continuing its plan for national growth, El Pollo Loco recently expanded into New England, where it celebrated its 400th location in the Boston area in May. Throughout 2008, El Pollo Loco is continuing expansion into other markets around the country, including California, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia.