Solar power from Xanterra Travel Collection’s solar field at Death Valley is being tapped to charge vehicles/Kurt Repanshek file

Sunshine turned into electricity is now available for charging your electric vehicle at Death Valley National Park.

Xanterra Travel Collection, which owns the main lodgings and dining options at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, long has relied on a solar power grid to furnish electricity to its operations. Now the company, which operates on private property within the national park and is not a concessionaire, is making some of that electricity available for free to owners of electric vehicles.

Six electric vehicle charging stations have been installed on the company’s property: four chargers at The Ranch at Death Valley and two at the Inn at Death Valley. The installation of the chargers was made through a partnership with the National Park Foundation, National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and BMW of North American.

“The Oasis at Death Valley is committed to providing legendary hospitality with a softer footprint and we couldn’t be more excited about the installation of these six strategically placed charging stations,” said Trey Matheu, general manager of The Oasis at Death Valley.  “We have seen an immediate demand for the stations and look forward to continuing to serve EV visitors.”

The chargers in Death Valley are part of a larger project to expand public access for EV travel and help reduce air pollution in parks and gateway communities. More than 90 charging stations have been installed in and near national parks so far, including Channel Islands National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Grand Canyon National Park.  

This project kicked off in April 2017 with the first electric vehicle charging stations installed at Thomas Edison National Historical Park

The Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office has provided technical assistance that supports innovative energy saving transportation projects at national park sites. These projects educate visitors on the benefits of advanced and alternative fuel vehicles and can help the National Park Service meet their energy, economic, and environmental goals.  The benefits of these projects have the opportunity to reach far beyond the boundaries of the national parks.

“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 use electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Through this joint effort between BMW of North America, the Department of Energy, and the National Park Foundation electric vehicle drivers will have more places to charge the car while recharging themselves with nature and parks.” 

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