Designated as “America’s Smart City” and Questline’s home base, Columbus, Ohio, is taking leaps toward a more environmentally friendly future.
Smart Columbus is focused on bringing innovative transportation options to the city in order to “reinvent mobility.” After winning the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge in 2016, the city received a $40 million grant from USDOT and a $10 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Based on the city’s goals created in 2016, Columbus has recently surpassed its electric vehicle adoption objectives.
In 2016 only 0.4% of cars sold in Columbus were electric vehicles. Now, that has increased to 1.8% with more than 3,235 EVs having been purchased, Utility Dive reported.
To help achieve these goals, Smart Columbus provided free chargers to both business and public spaces. AEP Ohio also invested $9.5 million in electric chargers to help businesses install chargers on their own properties.
In addition, the city partnered with larger private employers to help influence and encourage EV education in the workforce. Due to these partnerships, nearly 12,000 EV test drives have occurred to date and some local executives are personally driving electric vehicles.
Smart Columbus also worked with local original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and car dealers to increase the availability of EV models in Central Ohio.
Smart Columbus credits other forward-thinking cities, such as Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington for inspiring Columbus with their innovative energy plans. Smart Columbus officials even visited the leader in the EV industry — Oslo, Norway — to learn “what the future of electrification could look like.”
As coronavirus quarantine protocols begin to lift, Columbus looks to continue the stride of EV adoption and the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions by promoting EV ownership and encouraging shared mobility. Their next focus will be on bringing EVs to low-income neighborhoods.