Alexa V. Morgan – Iron County Today
Earlier this year, Zion National Park made history by becoming the first park in Utah to make electric vehicle charging stations available to visitors. And with 200,000 EVs currently on U.S. roads, park officials view the project as the start of a trend of “green” investments in Southern Utah’s future.
“Our hope is that by building and installing the infrastructure in Southern Utah, and the popularity that EV chargers are experiencing across the country, other surrounding areas will be able to install their own charging stations for electric vehicles in the future,” environmental protection specialist Alex Barajas said. “We’re building the model, especially for other parks to end up doing it, because we want to see an infrastructure where EV drivers can go to all the national parks on electricity: Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, on to Arches, the Grand Canyon, and beyond.”
In 2013, Zion received a $155,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which was used to purchase 10 EV chargers and three Ford C-Max Energi hybrids to replace older park vehicles that were no longer fuel-efficient. This grant is helping the park reach its goal of having half or more of its fleet comprised of zero-emissions vehicles and reducing fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by the end of 2025, as part of a multi-agency federal mandate.
The charging stations are located at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. To use the chargers, visitors must purchase an access code at either location for $5. The code is valid for three days of unlimited use. (…)