For the first time, The Ohio State University on Thurday gave the public a chance to test out electric vehicles for themselves.
Around 250 Ohio State students, faculty and staff pre-registered for the chance to take an electric car out for a spin at the Smart Columbus Ride and Drive Roadshow.
Attendees had 13 electric vehicles to choose from, including the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model X.
Ohio State Center for Automotive Research senior associate director Maryn Weimer says exposing people to electric vehicles could help them decide to make the switch down the road.
“I hope people understand more about electric vehicles. I think there's a lot of uncertainty and lack of awareness around how it works, how you charge it, how is it different,” Weimer says. “So we're trying to just break down those barriers so people aren't nervous about maybe taking the opportunity to go electric.”
Mustafa Cantas, an Ohio State employee, came out to test drive because he believes electric vehicles are the future.
“I am always interested in the electric vehicles because they're environmentally-friendly, quiet and they have a lot of maintenance inside so the maintenance of these vehicles is very easy,” Cantas says.
The university is the primary research partner for the the city's Smart Columbus program. In 2016, the city won a $40 million grant from the Department of Education and a $10 million grant from Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to improve mobility around Columbus.
There are 40 Smart Columbus electrification accelerator partners in the city, some of whom have hosted private test drive events.