BMW is charging up US national parks, landmarks and historic sites with up to 100 electric vehicle stations. Appropriately, the first is at Thomas Edison National Historic Park, the laboratory and home of of the man most associated with electricity.
BMW has partnered with the National Park Foundation, National Park Service and Department of Energy to make electric vehicles a feasible option for travel to national parks. Of course, BMW manufactures EVs, most notably the i3 sedan, shown here plugged into the charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park in Orange, NJ .
The availability of electric vehicle chargers will help reduce air pollution in parks and gateway communities, along with demonstrating the viability of electric vehicles in everyday life.
With the activation of this first charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, a public-private partnership team will be identifying additional locations at more than 400 National Park Service sites nationwide.
They will be looking at such factors such as the strength of the local EV market, distance from nearby charging locations, and natural and cultural landscape considerations.
Not surprisingly, dozens of parks have already expressed interest and are exploring site options.
This partnership supports the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, BMW will sponsor electric vehicle charging costs for all electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle drivers at Thomas Edison National Historical Park for the next six months. That means EV owners can plug in and recharge for FREE.
The Department of Energy’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 their energy and environmental goals.
The benefits of these projects have the opportunity to reach far beyond the boundaries of the national parks. DOE Clean Cities will work with the national parks and BMW to continue providing technical expertise.
The effects of a changing climate have led the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service to focus on minimizing greenhouse gas contributions and reducing drivers’ carbon footprint. Through this public-private partnership, these organizations can provide opportunities for the use of alternative fuel vehicles as one way to preserve national parks for future generations to enjoy.
This partnership supports the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. BMW will sponsor electric vehicle charging costs for all electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle drivers at Thomas Edison National Historical Park for the next six months.
Quotes from executives in the public-private initiative to electrify NPS sites
- “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 Region Americas. “Together with our partners, I hope 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.”
National Park Service
- Michael T. Reynolds, Acting National Park Service Director, said, “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.”
National Park Foundation
- “Thanks to BMW’s support, sustainable travel will expand across the National Park System,” said 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.”