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Electric vehicles will be at the service of students. Photo: Pixabay.

ComEd allocates $250,000 to offer electric cars in driving classes

The initiative announced funding for 5 schools in 2022 and is accepting applications for next year.

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“EVs for Education” is the program that will allow Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and educators in the region to access electric vehicles (EV) for their driver education classes.

The initiative, which offsets the cost of an EV and an EV charger, will give students first-hand experience driving electric vehicles and learning about new zero-emission vehicles on the rise in Illinois and across the country.

Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd, stated:

ComEd is proud to partner with school communities across the region to power education programs that will help remove barriers to EV use and inspire drivers to embrace this exciting new technology that is key to our clean energy future.

Beneficiaries

Schools invited to participate in “EVs for Education” receive a $50,000 grant to help electrify their driver education curriculum by adding an EV to their existing vehicle fleet and purchasing at least one Level 2 charger.

Seeking to remove the economic barriers some community schools face when incorporating electric vehicles, ComEd has partnered with the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association to create a targeted curriculum that gives students and educators first-hand experiences with new forms of technology. 

Since its launch in 2019, ComEd has awarded $700,000 to 14 schools in northern Illinois, including six CPS schools. The 5 new schools that will be part of the program in 2022 are:

  1. Dwight Township High School, Dwight, Ill.
  2. Glenbard North High School, Carol Stream, Ill.
  3. Harvard High School, Harvard, Ill.
  4. Jefferson High School, Rockford, Ill.
  5. Lane Tech College Prep High School, Chicago

Reactions

“Thanks in part to Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), EVs are gaining popularity in Illinois, and ComEd is taking steps to prepare the next generation for the new era of technology that’s proven to lower harmful tailpipe emissions and improve air quality for all our communities,” added Quiñónez.

“Today’s students have more interest in electric vehicles than any previous generation, which is why it’s crucial that we introduce them to this experience as they learn the rules of the road. Working with ComEd, we are expanding this unique curriculum to new Chicago high schools every year and inspiring a new generation to take on new technologies that are key to our future,” said Pedro Martínez, CEO of Chicago Public Schools. 

“The ComEd EVs for Education Grant program is delivering new vehicles and equipment that will help thousands of public high school driver education students take steps to learn the rules of the road using electric vehicles. In addition to putting students in touch with cutting edge equipment, new curriculum we’ve helped developed for this program will help familiarize students with differences of driving and maintaining EVs, including charging methods. With EVs gaining more and more popularity in Illinois, the work ComEd is doing is essential to a safe adoption of this new technology by our newest drivers,” noted Wayne Hartmann, Board Representative for the Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association. 

EV used for driving lessons in Illinois schools. Photo: @ComEd.
EV used for driving lessons in Illinois schools. Photo: @ComEd.

“In line with CUSD 50’s strategic plan, this partnership offers a variety of different vehicles for our students to learn with. With the support of this grant, Harvard High School along with the Harvard Community Education Foundation will be able to take steps so that our students can be exposed to green technology they may not yet have had the opportunity to see, let alone use. The EVs for Education program opens learning opportunities for our driver’s education students that would not be possible otherwise,” stressed Katey Dietz, driver education team lead at Harvard High School.

If seeking to be eligible for one of these grants, applicants must be in a public school driver education program and be located in ComEd's service region.

ComEd is now accepting applications for the 2023 program year. The deadline is December 31, 2022.

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