Street. George – Two women driving from coast to coast stopped in Zion National Park on Tuesday to discuss electric vehicles and the common range concern of those considering switching to this type of vehicle.
The three-week, 4,350-mile EV Road Trip is designed to generate increased adoption of electric vehicles in the United States.
Their journey stretches from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Sacramento, California, and Alyssa Murphy and Daphne Dixon drive a Ford Mustang Mach E to showcase the growing network of charging stations and the everlasting power of electric vehicles across America.
“Studies show that 50 percent of potential electric vehicle drivers are unsure about their ability to charge their vehicle when they need to,” said Dixon, CEO of Live Green and Connecticut, Southwestern Area Clean Cities. “So potential drivers may not buy electric cars because of this scale concern.”
Travelers chose a route that highlights the National Parks Initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technologies and the National Park Service and Clean Cities. Dixon said the initiative supports transportation projects that educate park visitors about the benefits of switching to affordable alternative fuels.
Dixon said their route along the initiative’s installed electric vehicle charging stations in national parks was an easy part of their journey. In Zion National Park, they stayed at Zion Lodge and used EV charging stations in front of it.
Jonathan Schaeffer, a public affairs specialist with Zion National Park, said that visitors to Zion National Park can learn more about the park’s charging stations on the website.
Zion is pleased to welcome all visitors to the park. “We provide a limited number of charging stations for people who use electric cars,” Shaffer said. “Looking into the future of the Zion Canyon Shuttle System, we are in the process of replacing our entire existing shuttle fleet with battery powered buses. New battery powered buses will be delivered periodically over the next several years.”
According to the website, the National Park Service (NPS) recognizes the importance of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and using alternative transportation processes in as many parks as possible. The National Park Service and the Department of Energy (DOE) co-created Clean Cities National Park Initiativewhich also has the environmental benefits of reducing dependence on petroleum.
Dixon said Live Green is an environmental education nonprofit based in Connecticut. They participate in Clean Cities, a national network of coalitions that works to educate municipal fleets, business fleets, and community members about alternative fuels. They try to help move places, businesses, and municipalities to alternative fuels. They also hope to educate the public that electric vehicles are a viable alternative to travel.
“I can even get range anxiety if I’m driving a regular long-distance car,” Dixon said. “So, it’s something that I think people have owned no matter what they drive. And then you add the aspect of the electric vehicle, which doubles as it does.”
Women, in particular, may have children and worry if they are able to find somewhere to charge or get fuel somewhere safe. Dixon said there hasn’t been enough public information or demonstrations to show that you can charge an electric vehicle over a wide area of land. Dixon and Murphy, the Connecticut program manager, Southwestern Area Clean Cities, wanted to show people that it was safe to drive in an electric car across the country.
Dixon said there are many applications for finding charging stations along the way. The couple also discovered that if one buys a Ford, there is a charging grid provided that helps locate charging stations.
She explained that if one is driving 300 miles, there is usually at least one EV charging station. The mileage varies if there are hills or steep mountains. On this trip, they traveled by car from the southern edge of the Grand Canyon to Zion National Park without charging.
“It is very easy to find a place to stopDixon said. “People keep asking us if it takes that long to sit down and charge, but 100% of the time we’ve gone to charge cars, it’s always ready before we are.”
She charges the car for how long it takes to stretch her legs and take a break from the road. The women have traveled nearly 4,000 miles so far and they haven’t had to wait long. Depending on how much the battery is already charged, this will affect charging times. It can take up to 45 minutes to fully charge the battery, according to Ford’s website.
Dixon said other charging stations were found at Walmart and a Nissan dealership while on the road. Ford also has its own freight network throughout North America, according to its website. The BlueOval Charge Network includes DC fast chargers to power the Mustang Mac-E in minutes. FordPass Power My Trip also takes the vehicle’s current charge level and integrates convenient charging locations into the route.
Dixon said Zion National Park was the most amazing place on the trip. She noted that the electric vehicle charger was introduced by the National Park Service through a program with Clean Cities to place all of these chargers in national parks across the country.
“It is absolutely amazing. We are so grateful to have this amazing Level 2 charger to charge our car, so we will be ready for our next step tomorrow,” said Dixon. “It was such a great experience to be here at Zion Lodge.”
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