Innovative EVs for Schools Program wins two awards

April 8, 2019

Two major organizations bestowed awards on Austin Energy’s innovative EVs for Schools, a program that brings electric vehicle curriculum and charging stations to local schools.

On April 1, Austin Energy’s EVs for Schools was recognized with a 2019 Smart 50 Award at the Smart Cities Connect Gala in Denver. And earlier today, EVs for Schools snagged an honorable mention in the Energy and Transportation categories of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards. 

The Smart 50 Awards, in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation, and US Ignite, recognize the 50 most innovative and influential projects globally. EVs for Schools was recognized in the Mobility category.

World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs, honoring businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that offer innovative solutions to the issues facing humanity. All of the finalists are highlighted in the May issue of the print magazine, which hits newsstands April 16.

“The larger goal is to move from tailpipes and fossil fuels to clean electric vehicles powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Making this new technology and training available to future leaders and those that teach them is critical,” said Karl Popham, Austin Energy’s Manager of Electric Vehicles & Emerging Technologies.

Austin Energy launched EVs for Schools in November 2018. Through public-private partnerships, the city-owned utility, along with ChargePoint and Smart Charge America, provided and installed dual-port charging stations at four Austin Independent School District campuses. School staff, students, parents and visitors can use the new EV-charging stations. Charging stations are installed at Akins, Lanier and Travis High schools, as well as Kealing Middle School.

“Ensuring we included schools with significant representation of low-income students is important to demonstrate that these new technologies are accessible and for everyone,” said Amy Atchley, Austin Energy’s Senior Project Lead of the program.

All AISD schools received a teacher’s kit and educational materials being developed in collaboration with EcoRise. The curriculum has an interactive component as it correlates with the charging stations, enabling teachers and students to utilize these stations to collect data and measure usage. In conjunction with the core curriculum, Austin-based Zpryme developed a Virtual Reality demonstration to provide an immersive experience of electric vehicles.

EVs for Schools is part of Austin Energy’s EVs are for EVeryone initiative. This work brings electric vehicle programs and support to all community members including low to moderate income groups. The goal is to create a future of mobility that is equitable, affordable and accessible while helping the environment. 

EVs for Schools program features 

  • Participating schools each receive a dual port electric vehicle charging station for staff, students and visitors to use.
  • School charging stations facilitate educational living lab opportunities for collecting data and measuring usage. Participating schools will receive a teacher kit and specialized training with STEM curriculum about electric vehicle, green energy and sustainable mobility.
  • EV drivers can charge at these stations for $4.17/month through Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere℠ program, which provides unlimited charging at 800+ local public ports.
  • All stations are powered by 100 percent renewable Texas wind energy through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice® program.

Click here for more information about EVs for Schools

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Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 490,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents in Greater Austin. The utility’s mission — to safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service — has guided Austin Energy in powering the community and supporting the region’s growth since 1895.

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