COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two multi-million dollar grants could catapult Columbus into the forefront of smart cities. A city council vote Monday evening could approve $500,000 of that money to help drivers become familiar with electric cars.
In October, a public – private partnership called Smart Columbus will offer a “Ride and Drive Road Show” where you can test-drive electric cars without a sales pitch and find out the benefits for you and your community.
Assistant Columbus Public Service Director Brandi Braun said Columbus will buy a fleet of 300 electric vehicles over three years for city workers to use, leading the way.
“The $10 million grant through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is specifically geared toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that is what all of this work will be working towards,” Braun said. “We have four over-arching goals we are working towards to become a Smart City. Improving people’s lives through ladders of opportunity, improving safety, driving economic growth and environmental sustainability,” said Braun.
Jordan Davis, the Director of Smart Columbus said the goal is to get electric car purchases up to 1.8 percent within three years. Calling that an increase of 3,600 more electric vehicles on area roadways.
“The way we go about that is with education. So we want people to touch and feel electric cars, to see how their performance is better. It is much better for the environment than a combustion engine, it is easier to maintain,” Davis said.
The Allen Family Foundation grant will be utilized in Franklin and all contiguous counties. “That is because people who live in those counties drive to and work in Franklin County and we would like to encourage them to drive electric vehicles,” Braun said.
The electric car money is just a small piece of the $10 million grant. A $40 million grant from the US Department of Transportation will be used for green mobility and transportation efforts.
More information can be found on Twitter at @smartcbus or https://www.columbus.gov/smartcolumbus/home/.