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A Network of Rural Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Pennsylvania

March 15, 2023 12:00 AM

Electric vehicle charging in parking lot at Kinzua Bridge State Park

​For the past several years, DCNR has been at work installing a network of electric vehicle charging stations in state parks and forests -- mostly in rural areas.

The department currently has 41 Level 2 electric vehicle charging station locations (91 individual plugs) available to the public at 38 state park and forests across the Commonwealth.

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Electric vehicle charging stations at Presque Isle State Park

During the development of the electric vehicle charging station projects, locations were selected based on:

  • Annual visitation
  • Recreation opportunities
  • Proximity to major highways and roads
  • The ability to provide charging opportunities at more rural locations.

As part of its sustainability efforts, it was important to DCNR to plan out a grid of locations that would help decrease range anxiety for early electric vehicle adopters and jumpstart the development of electric vehicle infrastructure within the Commonwealth.

An Experience with an Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Buchanan State Forest

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Electric vehicle charging stations at Buchanan State Forest Resource Management Center

DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently received a note from Dave C. (who’s been driving an electric vehicle for about two years) describing how important it was to find a charging station in a rural location:

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David C.'s Tesla electric vehicle

“We were driving through Pennsylvania for Christmas 2022 and encountered -8 degree weather in our Tesla electric vehicle.

Electric vehicles run great in normal 70-degree weather. When it gets colder, the battery life/performance is a bit compromised.

In -8F, battery performance is reduced to around 50 percent.

The effects of the weather on the battery, combined with mountain driving and intense headwinds on the Pennsylvania Turnpike caught us off guard and had us in a near-desperate situation where we couldn’t make it to the supercharger at Breezewood and we had to divert to Buchanan State Forest.

Luckily, those that manage the resource center had the foresight to install the four electric vehicle charging ports there.

Since they are Level 2 chargers, it takes some time to charge. We were stuck there after hours in the cold weather.

The forest ranger was making his rounds and let us into the resource center to keep warm. We were able to wait out the car charging for two hours in order to get back on the road.

I’d like to thank you and your team, acknowledge that had those chargers not been there, we would’ve been stuck on the side of the road (four people and a dog) in the freezing cold, as well as praise the ranger for his assistance.

I’d like folks to know how the charging stations were worth every penny!”

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests

DCNR’s public electric vehicle charging stations are offered free-of-charge to visitors, as the costs of installing systems that charge users was economically unfeasible, and the power provided through the current system is of minimal cost.

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While the department works to install charging stations at more than 50 locations to encourage sustainable travel to and from our public lands, the agency is also investing in renewable energy projects to decrease operating costs and the amount of electricity its facilities draw from the grid.

For more information on the locations of the electric vehicle charging stations in state parks and forests, visit the DCNR website.

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