New EV charging stations are often knocked for being either in high-traffic urban or suburban areas, office parks, or at nondescript freeway locations, at times far from a convenience store but also far from actual vacation destinations. It’s safe to say that we’re still in the early years of EV station building, so most of the new stations really are aimed at suburban sprawl, urban centers, or linking up the two coasts—often producing no-go zones for electric cars if their owners want to visit a national park.
While the current state of EV charging infrastructure is far from ideal when it comes to accessing the most scenic spots in the US, station builders are starting to address this issue.
Electrify America has worked with Yosemite Westgate and Buck Meadows Lodge to build an EV charging station in Buck Meadows, California, with the goal of giving those driving to Yosemite National Park a spot to charge their EVs. The Yosemite Westgate and Buck Meadows Lodge station is located just 12 miles from this popular national park, and is not that far from other EA stations in Bishop, Oakhurst, and Bridgeport. The station features two 150 kW and two 350 kW chargers.
“We know electric vehicle drivers are seeking ultra-fast charging options near national parks,” said Anthony Lambkin, senior director of operations at Electrify America. “Yosemite Westgate & Buck Meadows Lodge is known for providing a comfortable travel stop for Yosemite visitors, and we’re excited to provide their guests and all electric vehicle drivers a convenient, fast charging option to make travel to the park more accessible.”
Overall, as more electric vehicles of the lifestyle variety continue to arrive on the market, including the GMC Hummer and the upcoming electric Jeep model, the issue of EV chargers in popular camping destinations will become more pressing. Because there’s range anxiety in suburbia—and then there’s range anxiety on an overlanding trip, when a road you were counting on being open has been closed by park rangers, or it’s blocked by a tree. And the lack of charging spots even around relatively popular ski resorts in the west, to name one type of destination, continues to be one of the reasons some car buyers are still skittish of EVs.
While taking an EV from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe is a non-issue, other routes such as from Seattle to Sun Valley, Idaho, are a different undertaking. So building stations along routes that don’t merely connect cities, but connect urban regions to vacation destinations will be one of the challenges when it comes to EV adoption.
Realistically, until a high percentage of gas stations have a couple of chargers, or until EV chargers at gas stations become about as easy to find as a diesel pump, range anxiety for road trips is expected to be a factor in EV adoption.
“As the last major road stop before entering Yosemite National Park, we attract guests from all over,” said Raj Patel, owner of Yosemite Westgate & Buck Meadows Lodge. “We look forward to welcoming EV drivers from near and far looking to make their next road trip to Yosemite National Park.”
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