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As students return to school, those attending West Aurora High, in Aurora, Illinois, will discover a new sight in the school’s parking lot: the first FLO electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the state of Illinois. The four CoRe+ Level II chargers installed during the summer are part of a unique program that the school developed on their premises, which teaches students, both through simulation and practice, how EVs work, how to charge them, and what benefits EV adoption brings to drivers and to the environment.
“Supporting and accelerating widespread EV adoption is an integral part of FLO’s global strategy, and what makes our collaboration with West Aurora High School so exciting,” said Rose Lenoff, FLO’s Business Development Manager, Smart Cities and Government. “Not only are we helping raise students’ awareness about the benefits of driving an EV, but we are supporting EV education for the next generation of drivers. In the end, we expect that their understanding and familiarity with EVs will turn them into ambassadors who can spread practical and relevant information about zero-emission transportation.”
More than 3,500 students from vast parts of the state attend the West Aurora high school, which is known for its diversity. Its students speak 45 different languages at home, with backgrounds stretching across six continents. Last year, the school applied for a grant from the Illinois-based utility company Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) to invest in electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure for educational purposes. The school then went on to win the grant, making it possible for 600 students to attend its EV education program.
“The EV Drivers’ Education class is part of West Aurora School District’s overall strategy to switch to clean energy,” said Todd Gingerich, Head of Facilities at the West Aurora high school. “We recently installed solar panels on the school’s roof, and a geothermal system to produce the school’s energy. Working with FLO to install EV chargers on the school premises has been another major step in this strategy, as the school’s motto is: Learn, practice, and apply. That is clear in this class where students learn about EV driving in theory, practice it using simulation in the school lab, then get to apply all those learnings with real electric vehicles that they can drive and charge firsthand. Having solid, reliable EV infrastructure is the foundation of a great EV experience. We want our students to have that takeaway and to become EV drivers themselves once they are ready to take the wheel.”
Located about 40 miles west of Chicago, the City of Aurora is a member of Chicago Area Clean Cities, a nonprofit coalition that promotes clean transportation, clean vehicles, and clean air in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.
“We are a unique partnership of government and companies from every corner of the Chicago metropolitan area,” said John Walton, chair of Chicago Area Clean Cities. “The members of our coalition work together to encourage the use of clean vehicles and clean fuels to help reduce emissions and improve air quality throughout the Chicago area.
“EV infrastructure is a very important part of the work that we do,” Walton added. “FLO’s support for EV education in Aurora is a terrific example for other communities, and it may even lead to some of these young people eventually working in the electric vehicle industry.”
FLO is a leading North American electric vehicle charging network operator and a major provider of smart charging software and equipment. Every month, FLO enables hundreds of thousands charging events thanks to over 45,000 high-quality stations deployed on public networks, commercial and residential installations. FLO’s headquarters and network operations centre are based in Quebec City, and its assembly plant is located in Shawinigan (Quebec). The company also has an office in Montreal and regional teams located in Ontario, British Columbia, California, New York, and Texas.