Ribbon Cutting
(Click to play the MP4 video)
Kolob EVSE Grand Opening
at Zion National Park

Mark D Larsen
April 24, 2015

This morning I was privileged to attend the “Grand Opening” of the EV charging stations at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. As I posted previously, I was the first electric vehicle owner to charge there a few weeks ago. This event, however, was the official “ribbon cutting” to celebrate the installation, sponsored by Zion National Park and the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, which had helped the Park secure a Department of Energy Grant for these stations and three plug-in vehicles.

Among the attendees were several government leaders, auto dealer personnel, a news reporter, a representative from the EVSE manufacturer, community residents, a few tourists, and —of course— a throng of park rangers who organized and set up the venue. I have posted below a couple dozen photos of the event.

NOTE: Click on any of the following photos to enlarge them.

After charging to 100% overnight, prior to departure my dashboard predicted 77 miles on the Guess-o-Meter.

LeafSTAT showed that the “full” charge was really 90.76%, and that the battery capacity was 79.69%.

After stopping to pick up a bit of breakfast, and driving a few backroads, after 44.8 miles I arrived with 4 charge bars and 18 miles on the GOM.

The climb up the canyon put me at a higher elevation, and thus at lower temperatures, but the capacity was just a tad better.

Dawn had dawned when I pulled up to the Kolob EVSEs and went in the Visitor Center to purchase my $5 access code.

The Park Rangers were already there, leveling off the area behind the EVSEs and setting up the chairs.

Environmental Ranger Juli Rorbach chats with Stuart Irwin who had flown out on behalf of the EVSE manufacturer, Clipper Creek.

Under the Park’s canopy, Utah Cities Clean Coalition generously provided refreshments and information packets for attendees.

Zion National Park Superintendent, Jeff Bradybaugh, welcomes dignitaries to the celebration and answers their questions about the EVSEs.

The Executive Director of Utah Clean Cities Coalition, Robin Erickson, served as the Master of Ceremonies and introduced the various speakers.

Superintendent Bradybaugh was the first to address the gathering, underscoring the need to protect our National Parks with alternative fuel vehicles.

Our representative in the Utah Legislature, Lowry Snow, spearheaded the effort to raise the EV state tax incentive to $1500 in the 2014 session.

I was surprised —and delighted— to see that there were more attendees at the event than there were chairs to accommodate them.

We were fortunate that the predicted rains held off for another day, but the bright sun made it difficult to take clear photos.

There were probably more Park Rangers present than have ever gathered on a single occasion at the Kolob Canyons entrance.

Ranger Juli Rohrbach happily shows off one of the Park’s new plug-in vehicles, a Ford C-Max Energi.

Here you can see the Park’s C-Max next to my Leaf, while they both enjoy a nice lunch of electrons.

Superintendent Bradybaugh and Representative Snow proudly pose next to the Clipper Creek EVSEs.

It was a double celebration for Juli Rohrbach’s golden retriever: for the EVSEs but also for her birthday.

Afterwards, I took the Cedar City reporter for a ride in my Leaf to view the inspiring vistas of Kolob Canyons.

The drive up the canyon had added 10.5 miles to the odometer, and with a full charge from the Kolob EVSE, my GOM now predicted 84 miles of range.

Similarly, LeafSTAT now indicated the pack had a bit more capacity than in the morning, probably because the temperature had warmed.

I took the I-15 freeway all the way to St. George, at 65 miles-per-hour, yet ended up with twice as many miles left as when driving outbound that morning.

Indeed, LeafSTAT indicated that the battery was still half charged, which clearly shows the difference when descending vs. climbing in an EV.

I was absolutely delighted to see on today’s evening news that KUTV Utah broadcast a followup story on Zion’s new charging stations. You can click on this link to read the transcript and view the video segment in which the reporter, D. J. Bolerjack, interviews Ranger Juli Rohrbach about the project.

It was personally very satisfying for me to witness that the electric vehicle infrastructure is beginning to expand in our remote area of the country. I understand that, in the near future, the National Park Service might also install EVSEs at Cedar Breaks, slightly farther to the north. If this progress continues, perhaps someday I will actually be able to drive an electric vehicle to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!