BMW of North America has partnered with the National Park Foundation, National Park Service and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to bring up to 100 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to national parks and nearby communities across the country.
During a press conference yesterday at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, the site of Edison’s West Orange, N.J., laboratory and home, the partners switched on the first of those charging stations.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the next 100 years of both the BMW Group and National Park Service than by making America’s national parks more accessible to drivers of electric vehicles,” says Ludwig Willisch, head of BMW Group for the Americas. “Together with our partners, I hope that we can channel a little of Edison’s spirit and, in the same way that he made electric power widely available, make electric vehicle charging more widely available for everyone.”
With the installation of the first charging stations at Thomas Edison National Historical Park complete, an integrated team from this public-private partnership will continue to identify park locations for additional charging stations. As reported, the team will look at factors such as proximity and strength of EV markets, distance from nearby charging locations, and natural and cultural landscape considerations.
BMW says dozens of parks have already expressed interest and are exploring site options.
The DOE’s Clean Cities Program works with the National Park Service to provide technical assistance to support sustainable transportation projects at national park sites. These projects educate visitors on the benefits of advanced and alternative vehicles and can help the National Park Service meet its energy and environmental goals.
DOE Clean Cities will work with the national parks and BMW to continue providing technical expertise.
Michael T. Reynolds, acting National Park Service director, says, “Electric vehicles have come a long way since Thomas Edison plugged his first electric car into a charging station in his own garage. Today’s EVs are clean, quiet, energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, which help to reduce air pollution in parks and local communities. That benefits the visitor experience and helps us preserve parks for future generations to enjoy.”
“Thanks to BMW’s support, sustainable travel will expand across the National Park System,” adds Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “These charging stations will also increase visitation to the parks and serve as a great asset for surrounding gateway communities.”
BMW will sponsor charging costs for all EV and plug-in hybrid EV drivers at Thomas Edison National Historical Park for the next six months.
Photos courtesy of David Rose for BMW of North America.