Smart Columbus, the public-private partnership that will use technology to enhance mobility in Columbus, and partner AEP Ohio, hosted the first “Ride and Drive” event recently to promote the broad use of electric vehicles in the Columbus Region.
The Smart Columbus Ride and Drive, sponsored by AEP Ohio, brought representatives of manufacturers of electric vehicles such as BMW, Chevy and Ford to AEP Ohio employees for the opportunity to test-drive several makes and models and learn about the benefits of ownership.
“We are excited that, through the efforts of Smart Columbus and our partner AEP Ohio, people are learning how electric vehicles can help protect the environment and help motorists save money on fuel costs,” Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said. “These Ride and Drive efforts are unique as they provide an in-depth educational experience and opportunity for potential electric vehicle owners to ask questions and educate themselves on potential ownership.”
“AEP and AEP Ohio are proud to be part of Smart Columbus and to host the first Ride and Drive event. As a Smart Columbus partner, AEP Ohio intends to install 275 public electric vehicle charging stations; develop micro-grids to supply uninterrupted power to critical infrastructure including police and fire stations, medical facilities and social service agencies; and install smart street lighting controls that save energy and increase safety and security,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO. “We will seek input from Smart Columbus representatives and neighborhood groups about the best locations for these new technologies so they will benefit a wide range of customers, especially in under-served parts of our community.”
Event attendees learned about:
· How electric vehicles save money;
· The diverse features and variety of models;
· How to charge electric vehicles; and
· The role that electric vehicles play in curbing harmful emissions.
“Smart Cities will help uplift neighborhoods and stem the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations,” said Columbus City Council member Shannon Hardin. “The adoption of electric vehicles is a key piece to Smart Cities and the future of transportation.”
“Consumer education is paramount to converting potential drivers into proud electric vehicle owners,” said Columbus Partnership CEO Alex R. Fischer. “AEP is to be applauded for putting its team in the driver’s seat and setting the pace in our community’s commitment to becoming a leader in EV adoption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
This was the first of many Ride and Drive events Columbus Region organizations will host in the years ahead. The public will also have opportunities to experience electric vehicles at community events.
The City of Columbus “Smart Columbus” vision won the U.S. Department of Transportation $40 million Smart City Challenge in June, 2016 after competing against 77 cities nationwide to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors– into their transportation network. Columbus was also awarded an additional $10 million grant from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. to accelerate the transition to an electrified, low-emissions transportation system.
Smart Columbus will:
• Improve access to jobs through expanded mobility options in major job centers;
• Compete globally through smart logistics;
• Connect Columbus residents to safe, reliable transportation that can be accessed by all;
• Better connect our visitors to transportation options; and
• Develop a more environmentally sustainable transportation system.
More information, including details about future Ride and Drive events, is available at columbus.gov/smartcolumbus.