“EVs for Education” will award funding to five schools in 2022, now accepting applications for 2023 grants
CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Students at five area public high schools will get behind the wheel of an electric vehicles (EV) in driver education class thanks to a $250,000 investment ComEd announced today with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and educators from across the region. The ComEd EVs for Education program, which provides schools funding to offset the cost of an EV and EV charger, will give students first-hand experience driving EVs and learning about new zero-emissions vehicles on the rise in Illinois and across the country.
ComEd is now accepting applications for the 2023 program year. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to apply now until the deadline of Dec. 31, 2022. The application can be found on ComEd’s website.
“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,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “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.”
ComEd made the announcement from Taft High School, located on Chicago’s northwest side, which received an EVs for Education grant in 2020, using it to purchase two new Chevy Bolts and two new charging stations for use in driver education. Since its launch in 2019, ComEd has directed $700,000 to 14 schools across northern Illinois, including six CPS schools.
Five new schools have been identified to participate in the 2022 program, including:
- Dwight Township High School, Dwight, Ill.
- Glenbard North High School, Carol Stream, Ill.
- Harvard High School, Harvard, Ill.
- Jefferson High School, Rockford, Ill.
- Lane Tech College Prep High School, Chicago
“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,” said Pedro Martinez, CEO of Chicago Public Schools. “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.”
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. In addition to providing students with experience behind the wheel of an EV, the program teaches them to identify the vehicle’s basic components, understand charging requirements and different types of charging equipment, and how to operate and charge an EV responsibly.
In addition to removing cost barriers that some school communities face in incorporating EVs, the program provides students and educators first-hand experiences with new forms of technology. ComEd teamed up with the Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association to create curriculum for the EVs for Education program.
“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,” said Wayne Hartmann, Board Representative for the Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association. “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.”
To be eligible for an EVs for Education grant, applicants must be a public school driver education program, and be located in the ComEd service region. Applicants are prioritized if they are located within diverse communities or communities underserved by EV access/charging. More on program requirements can be found in the application.
“We are extremely excited to partner with ComEd and provide an amazing opportunity to the students of Harvard High School and future generations of CUSD 50 students and families,” said Katey Dietz, driver education team lead at Harvard High School. “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.”
EVs for Education is just one example of how ComEd is working to prepare communities for the rise in EV adoption expected in Illinois. Recent legislation passed by the state of Illinois and the federal government confront climate change in part by incentivizing the adoption of EVs, especially as transportation is the single biggest contributor of carbon pollution in the U.S. today. Through CEJA, Illinois has set forward clear markers on how to reduce carbon emissions, including a plan to add 1 million EVs to the roads by 2030.
“Dwight Township High School is pleased to partner with ComEd and to be a recipient of the EV grant,” said Dwight Public Schools Superintendent, Josh DeLong. “DTHS will use these funds to purchase an electric vehicle which will help us by having a much needed second driver’s education vehicle, while at the same time teaching our students the benefits of electric cars. Thank you ComEd!”
ComEd is preparing its communities to unlock the benefits of EVs, which are proven to reduce carbon emissions, to enhance air quality, all while saving consumers on money otherwise spent at the pump. To support customers in navigating the journey to EVs, ComEd has introduced the EV Toolkit – an all-in-one resource providing information and tips on available resources and rebates, rate plans and cost savings options, where to find charging stations, and more.
Additionally, ComEd earlier this month announced a new DOE-funded grant that will enhance ongoing work to test the integration of extreme fast charging stations, a key component in not only growing the network of charging stations across the region, but helping to promote widespread adoption of EVs.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.