EV Chargers coming to CA National Parks
A new initiative could make it easier to visit national parks without hurting the environment.
California officials approved $1.5 million last week for the National Park Service to install at least 15 electric vehicle chargers at park sites across the state. The grant from the California Energy Commission could allow the park service to build charging stations in places like Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks, which don't have electric vehicle chargers and are difficult to access without gasoline-powered cars.
Several National Park Service sites in California already have charging stations, including Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Santa Monica National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park. But none of the major park sites in the California desert — Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve — have chargers.
It's not yet clear where the charging stations will be built; the park service will study where it makes the most sense to put them, based on criteria like expected demand and distance from existing chargers. But wherever they go, park officials say they'll serve a dual purpose. In addition to making it easier for electric-vehicle drivers explore the parks, officials say, the chargers will raise awareness of cleaner transportation options.
"We care very deeply about climate change and energy and emission reductions, and air quality," Mary Hazell, who works in the park service's Sustainable Operations and Climate Change office, told the California Energy Commission. "We think this is a really great platform for information, because for millions of visitors, it will allow for sustainable EV travel across the state, and allow us to talk about it on a platform across the nation."
Last year, more than 38 million people visited National Park Service sites in California.