There Are A number of EVs on the Blue Ridge Parkway & at Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park

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Not too long ago, I took a visit from New Mexico to North Carolina after which again to New Mexico. On the way in which out, I visited Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, and on the way in which again I drove about half of the Blue Ridge Parkway earlier than visiting the Smokies once more and staying for an evening.

One factor shocked me time and again: the sheer variety of EVs I noticed!

Seeing EVs at Different Parks Hasn’t Been Widespread

On my visits to different nationwide parks over time, I’ve usually been the one EV driver there. This was true in 2019 after I visited the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest nationwide parks, as there simply weren’t any chargers (even Superchargers) there after I visited. 

After getting the Bolt EUV (a a lot simpler automobile to street journey in as a result of it has liquid cooling), I’ve been to extra parks, and infrequently ever see one other EV there. It was solely on my most up-to-date journeys to Carlsbad Caverns after which Guadalupe Mountain Nationwide Park in an EV9 press automobile that I noticed two different EVs in the identical lot with me (a Mustang Mach-E, and a an F-150 Lightning).

It simply appeared like an EV was a uncommon sight in the entire western nationwide parks I generally go to.

Heading East Meant A LOT Extra EVs In Parks

Picture by NASA, Public Area.

When you have a look at pictures of the 48 states at evening from above, you’ll be able to see there’s a line the place the inhabitants density actually simply drops off. There are nonetheless some very massive and dense cities west of that line from San Antonio by way of Dallas, Oklahoma Metropolis, Wichita and on up into the Dakotas, however the areas between the most important cities are darkish till you get to the west coast. When you’re aware of geography, it’s straightforward to identify locations like el Paso, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake Metropolis, and Las Vegas on NASA’s picture as a result of they stand out a lot.

Naturally, if a sure small share of individuals personal EVs and also you go from a spot with much less folks to a spot with extra folks, you find yourself seeing extra EVs. Then, contemplate the economics of EV charging, that stations are extra frequent as you head east, and you find yourself in a state of affairs the place the east has extra EVs per capita than the agricultural west.

As I ventured that method, I’d see extra EVs on the street in cities like Dallas or Texarkana, which is a factor out west, too. So, it didn’t actually get my consideration a lot after I noticed one other EV at a charging station at Scorching Springs Nationwide Park.

Picture by Jennifer Sensiba.

From Arkansas on into Tennessee, I’d see EVs on the chargers in cities, and it simply appeared like a metropolis factor such as you’d see within the west.

However, after I first received to Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, it dawned on me that I used to be seeing one thing actually totally different. From the second I entered the park close to Townsend, Tennessee on Line Springs Street, I began seeing Teslas in every single place. At one level, each third automobile was a Tesla. It was a busy vacation weekend after I went by way of the primary time, and parking was scarce at the entire trailheads. So, I’d see Rivians up on the perimeters of the roads and on site visitors islands the place most individuals couldn’t park.

It boggled my thoughts a bit, however I used to be driving on windy roads and couldn’t get pictures.

Once I was on my method again from Durham towards New Mexico, I made a decision to spend extra time within the parks. I began by going to Boone, North Carolina so I might take round half of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once more, virtually as quickly as I jumped on the Parkway I began seeing EVs throughout. It appeared like each sixth or seventh automobile was a Mannequin 3 or a Mannequin Y, and most of the hottest overlooks had 2 or 3 EVs parked at them. I additionally noticed a number of EVs at every campground we stayed at.

On the south finish of the Parkway, we ended up again in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park and discovered that the heavy presence of EVs wasn’t a vacation weekend fluke. 

Each customer middle parking zone had a number of Teslas, and the occasional Rivian or different EV. The campground had a number of Tesla drivers there for the evening tenting, too. On our final day within the Appalachians, we went by way of the one-way loop at Cades Cove. We had been tremendous hungry, so we used a site visitors pullout to arrange our kitchen briefly and cook dinner up a meal. Throughout that point, not less than 20 EVs handed by us, together with the Rivian pictured on the prime of the article.

Once we received caught in a site visitors jam there on account of a bear sighting, we noticed extra Rivians and Teslas the place folks had stopped to get out. 

Why We Noticed So Many EVs

After repeatedly seeing extra EVs than I’m accustomed to seeing, I believed so much about why this was. Listed below are a number of the issues I found out, and why it’s a great signal for EVs generally:

First off, we’ve to needless to say the Blue Ridge Parkway is the highest visited Nationwide Park Service unit. That is partly as a result of it stretches throughout over 460 miles in two states, and lots of guests don’t traverse the entire street. This implies a relatively large web will get solid for guests.

Subsequent, we’ve to needless to say Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is normally far and away probably the most visited nationwide park. Once more, with all of that site visitors, you’ll see extra EVs just because there are such a lot of vehicles.

One other issue is that each of those parks are within the japanese United States. EV adoption is greater than within the locations nearer to most western parks, there’s extra infrastructure, and the inhabitants density close to these parks is so much greater. Once more, extra EVs on prime of extra folks means much more EVs.

However, usually talking, that is actually a phenomenon of rising EV possession within the common inhabitants. If we see quite a lot of EVs in fashionable locations, than which means there are quite a lot of EVs in every single place. That’s an ideal signal for EV adoption.

Featured picture by Jennifer Sensiba.

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