A new interactive map shows EV charging stations near national parks News


An Ev Charging Station In The Background Against A Leafy Green Exterior.
Charging your electric vehicle (EV) at a national park just got easier. In partnership with the National Park Service, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has built an interactive EV charging map that shows charging stations at more than 400 national parks, monuments, and historic sites. Photo from iStock

Snacks: Check. Road trip tunes: check. An interactive map showing electric vehicle charging stations in the national park you visit: check, check and check.

As electric vehicle (EV) adoption continues to grow — and tourism to US national parks soars — many visitors to the nation’s wild places have the same question: Can I charge my car there? Now visitors can use it. A new interactive tool Developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to ensure EV charging stations are available at any of the United States’ more than 400 national parks, monuments, and historic sites.

The tool, developed in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), is now live on the NPS.org website—inviting visitors to keep the nation’s beautiful heritage clean and pollution-free.

NREL researchers built the NPS site tracking tool from bones Optional gas station indicatorAn interactive map showing all non-residential alternative fuel stations in the United States and Canada, from EV chargers to hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, propane and renewable diesel fuel locations. The research team, led by NREL software developer Matt Rahil, used Station Locator’s extensive data repositories to create an enhanced experience for national park visitors.

“Developing an EV charging map for the National Park Service was already a way to track the work we were doing at NREL on the national level of charging infrastructure,” Rahil said. “If we had started from scratch, this project would have taken a lot of time. Instead, we were able to use the existing data from the station finder and tailor it to the national park visitors.”

Decades of Data Power Daily EV Charging Station Updates

The data that powers both the Station Locator tool and the NPS EV charging map goes back decades.

Abby Brown, who serves as NREL’s transportation project manager and leads the collection of station indicator data, said NREL began manually collecting the nation’s EV toll data in 2015. In the year In 2014, NREL began automating this data sharing through an application programming interface (API) for EV charging networks. In addition to manually collecting data on networked chargers, the lab now collects daily updates from EV charging service providers that wait and feed it directly into a site locator.

A Screenshot Of The New National Park Service Ev Charging Station Map.
The National Park Service’s EV charging map shows EV chargers located at or along the way at US national parks, monuments, and historic sites. Image from NREL

For these reasons, Station Locator is the continent’s largest and most reliable source for alternative gas stations. And that data feeds directly into the NPS EV Charge Map.

“We implemented APIs for 11 charging networks to build the National Park Service map, which automatically feeds the data into the device instead of manually collecting it,” Rahil said. “We then filtered the data to show only EV charging stations directly connected to 400-plus national parks, monuments and historic sites.”

“This tool is designed to streamline the experience for visitors who want to drive an EV into a national park,” added Brown. For a full portrait of the nation’s EV charging landscape and alternative fuel stations, she said visitors should check out the main alternative fuel station locator map.

To further simplify the charging experience for EV drivers, Rachel’s team has built several useful filters into the map. For example, users can customize the map to show only a specific charger type, charging rating—120 to 240 volts, and DC fast charging rating of 400 volts or more—and nearby EV chargers. A certain park or monument. The map even shows the hours the charger is open to the public. And the Station Locator data used to power the NPS device is updated daily, giving users the most up-to-date information possible on new and existing charging stations.

Building a green future for national parks, monuments and historic sites

The new EV charging map is in strong alignment with NPS values, including a gradual transition to clean energy.

The third iteration of the National Park Service’s Green Parks Plan by 2023 outlines new steps to achieve zero-to-zero greenhouse gas emissions and zero-emission transportation systems. A key step in the plan to “green” transportation is to install infrastructure to support visitors’ electric and alternative fuel vehicles, and to publicize existing infrastructure through new tools such as EV charging station maps. As private cars remain one of the most convenient ways to travel to remote areas like national parks, helping drivers reduce carbon emissions supports a number of environmental goals, from reducing pollution to reducing noise in wildlife habitats.

“We are proud to work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to make EV charging more accessible to visitors to our parks, monuments and historic sites,” said Jennifer Madelo, Division Manager, NPS Park Facilities Management Division. “The National Park Service serves as a model for environmental protection, but we cannot achieve our sustainability goals alone; The public plays an important role in this work. The new NPS EV Charging Map, developed with support from NREL, invites visitors to participate and participate in our goals to support zero-emission transportation, climate resilience and environmental justice.

And the new EV charging map is just one of many projects NREL and NPS are collaborating on in the pursuit of clean energy—one that could impact visitors to national parks, monuments and historic sites across the country.

“The National Park Service and NREL have had a partnership for years, from providing data analysis to support bus electrification at Zion National Park to providing technical assistance in reducing overall park emissions,” said Kaylin Bopp, who served as a liaison between NREL. and NPS for the project. “National parks face unique challenges, and NREL is uniquely positioned to help. It’s amazing to see that we can make a few tweaks to what we already do and it’s going to provide great value to one of our federal partners — and to people across the country.

Learn more about NREL’s sustainable transportation and mobility research. and subscribe to NREL’s quarterly Transportation and Mobility Research newsletter;
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