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BMW Donates 100 EV Charging Stations at America’s National Parks

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Thomas Edison National Historic Park West Orange New Jersey
The Thomas Edison National Historic Park was the first to receive a charging station
Photo: Binksternet

Two years ago, BMW started a project with the U.S. National Park Service and the Department of Energy that promised the automaker would donate 100 electric vehicle charging stations across the country’s national parks. The ultimate goal was to reduce air pollution, specifically in places like national parks and the surrounding areas. When it came time to install the first station, BMW chose Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey.

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“We can’t think of a better way to enjoy the summer than visiting one of America’s beautiful national parks. In making electric vehicle charging more widely available for everyone, this joint effort serves to make America’s national parks more accessible to drivers of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO of BMW of North America.

BMW Electric Vehicle Charging Station i3 Thomas Edison National Historic Park West Orange New Jersey
The 1914 Detroit Electric Model 47 owned by Thomas Edison sits next to a BMW i3
Photo: BMW

There were more than 90 charging stations installed by the beginning of June, with the remaining stations installed over the course of July. To determine the locations of each charging station, the BMW team took into account multiple factors, including the strength of EV markets, distance from other charging areas, and, of course, cultural and natural landscape considerations.

“The automobile has long been central to the great American vacation in national parks,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “While our treasured landscapes offer familiar vistas time after time, the automobile has changed greatly, and parks want to meet the needs of our visitors who electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This partnership with BMW, the Department of Energy and the National Park Foundation offers electric car drivers a place to charge the car while recharging themselves with nature and parks.”

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The Department of Energy had its team from the Vehicle Technologies Office help BMW with the technical assistance of the project. This team also assists other companies to educate visitors of national parks about additional projects based on the National Park Service’s environmental, economic, and energy goals.