CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Just in time for to the start of the school year, ComEd today announced the latest group of local high schools selected to participate in the EVs for Education program, which provides a total of $250,000 toward the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging equipment for use in driver’s education classes. Five northern Illinois high schools will each receive a $50,000 grant to purchase electric transportation technology, allowing students a unique opportunity to learn up close about the advantages of driving zero-emissions vehicles.
ComEd has awarded a total of $950,000 to 19 high schools in northern Illinois through the competitive grant program since the program first launched in 2019. The EVs for Education program is a component of ComEd’s work to accelerate EV adoption throughout the region, and to deliver on a key goal of the state’s landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which sets a goal of adding one million EVs to Illinois roads by 2030.
“The benefits related to EVs are clear, and ComEd is working to remove barriers to adoption to help more customers move toward cleaner transportation, which generates energy savings, reduces pollution and helps bring cleaner air into our communities,” said Louie Binswanger, SVP of Governmental, Regulatory and External Affairs at ComEd. “Through our EVs for Education program, we’re working to bring the environmental and health benefits of EVs into more communities by empowering the next generation to play a role in our clean energy future.”
Schools selected to participate in the program receive a $50,000 grant to help electrify their driver’s education curriculum by adding at least one EV to their existing vehicle fleet and purchasing at least one Level 2 EV charger. The program has a goal of empowering students on new clean energy technology, while helping reduce barriers for school communities where EV access is limited.
The schools selected to participate in the 2023-2024 EVs for Education program are:
- Bloom Trail High School, Chicago Heights
- Bremen High School, Midlothian
- Dwight D Eisenhower High School, Blue Island
- Rockford East High School, Rockford
- Sterling High School, Sterling
"We are excited to partner with ComEd on the EVs for Education initiative,” said Rockford Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Greg Brown. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to not only drive electric vehicles but also get classroom education and training on EVs as well."
"As the rate of EV adoption increases on the roads all around us, this funding allows Bremen High School District 228 to expand access to the electric car future that many students have not yet had exposure to, while enhancing our participation in the shift to clean energy,” said Dr. Jim Boswell, Director of Operations and Technology for Bremen High School District 228. “By securing this grant, our School District is proving how we continue to find ways to provide the best opportunities to prepare our students for the future both inside and outside the classroom. We appreciate the partnership with ComEd in helping provide this opportunity."
To be eligible for an EVs for Education grant, applicants must offer a public-school driver’s education program and be located in the ComEd service region. Equity is a central component of the program, and ComEd prioritizes applications for funding from school districts serving a predominantly low-income student population, and those located in an area that is either underserved by EV access/charging or suffering from lower air quality conditions due to pollution.
“Through ComEd’s grant Sterling High School students will have the opportunity to experience an EV when learning to drive,” said Matt Birdsley, Director of Finance and Chief School Business Official for Sterling Public Schools. “These funds bring an EV and much needed charging infrastructure to Sterling, Illinois, where EVs are beginning to see increased demand, yet as charging infrastructure is only just being implemented for the city.”
ComEd worked with the Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association (IHSCDEA) to develop curriculum for the program. 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 how to operate and charge an EV responsibly.
"The IHSCDEA is very excited about the ComEd EVs for Education program, helping more public high school driver education students experience the differences between internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric vehicles,” said Wayne Hartmann, IHSCDEA Technology Coordinator. “These differences, which include handling characteristics, driving strategies, fueling techniques, and maintenance, are important for students to experience first-hand under the supervision of a qualified instructor. EV usage is certainly on the rise, and the program will equip students as they begin to interact with EVs more and more on our roadways."
EVs are on the rise in Illinois, and provide customers an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint, enhance air quality for their communities, while also saving EV drivers money from avoided maintenance and fuel costs.
To help customers understand and unlock the benefits of EVs, ComEd offers the EV Toolkit, a one-stop-shop to empower customers with information on rebates, current EVs and EV chargers available for purchase, where to find public charging, and an individual cost calculator. ComEd also recently announced a $231 million investment to accelerate EV adoption, which will fund a variety of new rebates, rates and other customer programs over the next three years to accelerate the adoption of electrified technologies, including EVs. More information on ComEd’s electrification investments can be found here.
ComEd will soon consider applications for another round of grants provided for the 2024-2025 school year and encourages school districts in northern Illinois who meet eligibility requirements to submit an interest indication form. More information on program requirements for EVs for Education can be found on ComEd’s website.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 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.