ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) –
Drivers can now power up in the parking lot at a historic presidential estate in central Virginia.
The public chargers for electric vehicles at James Madison’s Montpelier are the first in Orange County, and the first at any national trust for a historic preservation site.
When Montpelier’s chief operating officer Sean O’Brien arrives to work, he no longer has to worry about running out of power to get around in his Prius.
“I plug in every morning when I come to work, and then drive home and plug in again at home,” say O’Brien.
O’Brien plugs his car in at one of these newly installed electric vehicle charging stations next to the administrative offices located in front of the visitor’s center.
“Many of the cars today don’t have a lot of range, and getting to Montpelier or any destination you need to have this available to you so that you can get back or continue on your trip,” says O’Brien.
Montpelier installed four chargers specific to Teslas, and eight chargers designed for any type of electric vehicle.
The next closest charging stations are each 24 miles away from Montpelier, located in Charlottesville, Culpeper, or Lake Anna. Montpelier hopes that these chargers make the historic site a destination for electric vehicle drivers.
The chargers are also putting Montpelier on the map for eco-friendly drivers.
“The demographic of visitors is changing,” says O’Brien. “More and more people are driving these plug-in cars. More and more people are concerned about the environment. And just because you’re an organization about history doesn’t mean you’re not looking to the future.”
And O’Brien adds that eco-friendly technology is actually congruous with James Madison’s philosophy.
“In many ways, he was a pioneer in talking about environmental issues,” says O’Brien. “We wanted to sort of continue James Madison’s legacy of thinking about the environment.”
Tesla donated the charging stations and helped pay to install them. The chargers are free for visitors to use.
Montpelier says its electric bill only bumped up about $30 during the first month these charging stations were powered on.