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Smart Columbus Ride and Drive event comes to campus next month

The Smart Columbus roadshow to promote and educate about electric vehicles is headed to The Ohio State University next month.

The Center for Automotive Research will host the first Smart Columbus Ride and Drive Roadshow held at Ohio State on June 7. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The value of having the ride and drive event is to expose our faculty, staff and students to the technology. What is an electric car? What does it feel like? What does it look like? What’s the cost associated with one?” said Courtney Falato, Ohio State’s Smart Cities relationship director.

Smart Columbus Ride and Drive Roadshow at Easton earlier this month.Smart Columbus Ride and Drive Roadshow at Easton earlier this month.Students, faculty and staff can sign up to test drive vehicles like the Tesla Model X or the Nissan LEAF and learn about more sustainable transit options in central Ohio. Test drives last about seven to 10 minutes and a valid license is required.

The Smart Campus student organization, CAR, the Risk Institute and other Ohio State centers and departments will be showcasing their work around Smart Cities and the many mobility options available at Ohio State.

Falato said the event is not about just experiencing electric vehicles, but also educating people about the options for getting around campus and Columbus.

“Here on campus, we have a mantra of park once,” she said. “How can we get people to campus in different ways, and once they are here, get them used to taking COTA downtown to their meetings or taking a bike across campus? We do have other options that people just don’t know about, or have never tried and are nervous about. We want you to know about those options, promote them, support them and utilize them.”

Falato said the university’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Management currently offers buses, bike rental and charging stations. More mobility options are expected in the future.

Smart Columbus is working to deploy more affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation options in central Ohio, and the university is joining in as a key partner by encouraging employees to drive electric and drive less.

In 2016 Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first-ever Smart City Challenge. The city was awarded $50 million in grant funding to transform mobility in central Ohio, and change what it’s like to live in our community. Ohio State is the primary research partner of Smart Columbus.

To learn more and reserve your time to test drive an electric vehicle, go to

by Chris Booker, University Communications