- One hundred electric vehicle (EV) chargers are being installed at national parks around the country, thanks to a partnership between the National Park Foundation, National Park Service (NPS), Department of Energy (DOE) and BMW of North America.
- Since 2017, more than 90 chargers have been installed at 13 different parks in seven states, with the remaining ones due later this month. The locations were selected after an analysis of factors like distance to the nearest chargers, the strength of local EV markets and landscape considerations.
- The chargers have industry-standard plugs and are not proprietary to maximize use across different brands, according to a BMW spokesman.
National parks are commonly designed for driving, but their remote locations and lack of charging infrastructure aren’t ideal for the limited range of EVs. The installation of chargers should help encourage more drivers to bring clean vehicles, especially if they’re placed in parks that EV drivers might actually visit.
The first charger was installed at New Jersey’s Thomas Edison National Historical Park, and others have been placed in EV-heavy states like Massachusetts (Cape Cod National Seashore), California (Death Valley National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Channel Island National Park) and Washington (Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks). The partners do not yet have information on how many drivers are using the chargers.
Installing more charging infrastructure is a necessary step to get more EVs on the road, but a lot of those installations have put fast chargers in cities or along major highways. According to Bloomberg, there were just over 60,000 public charging outlets in the U.S. last year; it’s estimated that as many as 30 million will be required if EVs are 30% of the market share by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.
Installing chargers in destinations like parks and shopping centers (Walmart, for example, has installed chargers at its stores) will ensure that EVs can be used everywhere, not just in cities.