Electric Cars

BMW wraps up installing 100 EV chargers in or near national parks

The project was first announced about two years ago.

You probably won't have to maneuver your i3 around vintage metal to get some juice, which I'm sure insurance companies will appreciate.

BMW

In April 2017, BMW first announced a partnership with the US National Park Service that would see several dozen EV chargers installed at or adjacent to various national parks, in order to make the parks more accessible to EV owners who may not have all the range in the world. Now, a couple years later, the automaker has finished its task.

BMW announced this week that it will finish donating 100 electric vehicle chargers in national parks nationwide this month. More than 90 have already been installed, but the remainder should be up and running by the end of July. It's unclear how powerful the chargers are.

"Thanks to public-private partnership, electric vehicle drivers can enjoy a quintessential national park road trip," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, in a statement. "Not only will drivers benefit, but also the businesses and communities at the doorstep of our treasured national parks."

BMW didn't just throw charger-shaped darts at a board to figure out where the chargers were needed. Instead, both BMW and its partners considered a variety of data points, including proximity to big EV markets and distances from already-established chargers. The goal wasn't just to add more chargers, but to give EV owners the chance to get out and enjoy nature without any range anxiety. The first charger to be established as part of this partnership went online in 2017 at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey.

The timing of this announcement couldn't be better. This week, BMW Group also announced its latest production EV, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE. This diminutive three-door has an estimated range of 146 to 168 miles by European estimations, so while its range might not be all that and a bag of chips, having access to extra chargers at weekend destinations should help.

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