WASHINGTON, April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Calling on the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship of Thomas Edison, the first of up to 100 electric vehicle charging stations in national parks and nearby communities across the country was switched on today at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, site of Edison's West Orange, New Jersey, laboratory and home.
The partnership brings together the efforts of the National Park Foundation, National Park Service (NPS), Department of Energy and now BMW of North America to make electric vehicles a feasible option for travel to national parks. The availability of this option will help reduce air pollution in parks and gateway communities and allow drivers to channel their inner Thomas Edison as they perhaps choose an electric vehicle for the first time.
"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," remarked Ludwig Willisch, Head of BMW Group Region 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 charging stations at Thomas Edison National Historical Park underway, an integrated team from this public private partnership will continue to identify park locations for additional charging stations. 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. Dozens of parks have already expressed interest and are exploring site options.
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.
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."
The effects of a changing climate have led the Department of the Interior and the NPS to focus on how we can minimize our greenhouse gas contributions and reduce our carbon footprint. Through this public private partnership we can provide opportunities for the use of alternative fuel vehicles and that's one way we can preserve parks for future generations to enjoy.
"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."
This partnership supports the National Park Foundation's Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.
ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Clean Cities program advances the nation's and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce energy, emissions and petroleum use in transportation. Part of DOE's Vehicle Technologies Office, Clean Cities efforts have helped to eliminate the use of more than 8.5 billion gallons of petroleum since its inception in 1993.
ABOUT BMW GROUP IN AMERICA
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 341 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 152 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
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SOURCE National Park Foundation