Location: Columbus, OH

Fleet Type: Light-duty Electric Vehicles



Smart Columbus is an organization based in Columbus, Ohio that exists to advance what’s new and next at the intersection of technology and community good. They have both a public and private partnership between the city government and the local business community with a focus on issues of sustainability and digitalization. One of the ways they aim to accomplish this is through the support of electrification throughout Columbus in the form of incentive programs.

Smart Columbus won the Smart Cities Challenge in 2016 and received $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, along with an additional $10 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Foundation. The funding was deployed in partnership with the City of Columbus. Smart Columbus was an instrumental part of AEP’s implementation of rebates for electric vehicle (EV) charging. Most specifically, they’ve done incentives for EV charging at public access points, workplaces, and in multi-unit dwelling (MUD). Clean Fuels Ohio was involved in the MUD incentive program by recruiting developers and landowners to apply for the program as well as facilitating the redemption and installation of the incentives. 

Additionally, Smart Columbus dispersed incentives for public sector fleet electrification and matched employer incentives for employee EV adoption. Bread Financial, formerly known as Alliance Data, gave a $1,500 incentive to any employee that bought an EV. Smart Columbus then matched their offer ensuring that those interested would have $3,000 towards their EV. Smart Columbus also provided up to $15,000 in matching money to employers that would implement a similar program.

The incentive programs that Smart Columbus has put forth have been successful with every program being fully subscribed with no excess money left over. For the fleet side, they had successful incentives for the public, further proving that incentives can be successful.

Outputs and Outcomes

The outputs from Smart Columbus’s implementation and work with incentives related to electrification include partaking in several programs to deploy incentive money. The outcomes from this include the incentives being fully subscribed with no money left on the table.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

  1. People have to try it out before they buy it.
  2. If you lower the barrier to entry, more people will participate.

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Smart Columbus Fleet Story

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