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White House Announces Electric Vehicle Hackathon

The main story regarding the White House’s latest EV push was the $4.5 billion put into Department of Energy loan guarantees for EV charging infrastructure. But there were several additional stories that are worth highlighting, including the launch of an “Electric Vehicle Hackathon.”


Before getting into the hackathon, though, I think it’s pretty awesome to look at some of the EVolution highlights of the past 8 years from the White House press release:

  • The # of plug-in electric vehicle models increased from 1 to more than 20.
  • EV battery costs decreased 70%.
  • The # of EV charging stations grew 40x over — from <500 in 2008 to >16,000 today.

The Obama administration is intent on doing more to sustain or increase that growth. Aside from 1) the loans we wrote about last night, 2) publishing Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure with 50 industry partners (from auto manufacturers like Tesla, BMW, and GM; to charging companies like ChargePoint, Greenlots, and EVGo; to utilities like Florida Power and Light Company, Con Edison, and Duke Energy; to a variety of other related players), and 3) the hackathon I will write about in a moment, the White House just:

  • launched the FAST Act process, which targets to “identify zero emission and alternative fuel corridors, including for electric vehicle charging across the country,” as well as pull together “a 2020 vision for a national network of electric vehicle fast charging stations that will help determine where along the corridors it makes the most sense to locate the fast charging infrastructure;”
  • announced “a call for state, county, and municipal governments to partner with the federal government to procure electric vehicle fleets at a discounted value;”
  • published “a guide to federal funding, financing, and technical assistance for electric vehicles and charging stations;”
  • got 35 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities to sign on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge, which means that they are “committing to provide electric vehicle charging access for their workforce.”

Of course, more could be done, but without Congressional support for bigger incentives, this is a pretty big step forward in support of a transition to EVs.

On to the hackathon….

1st White House EV Hackathon

Specifically, it is the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that will be hosting the EV hackathon. The event will take place sometime this fall, but a date was not indicated.

The hackathon apparently doesn’t yet have a website/webpage, but the aim is “to discover insights and develop new solutions for electric vehicle charging.” So, it is really an “EV Charging Hackathon,” not a broader “Electric Vehicle Hackathon” (as it is named).

The White House added that the hackathon “will take place in concord with the release of anonymized data on EV charging stations to the research and software development community.”

And, yes, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, the White House actually spells out what hackathons are: “Hackathons are events that bring together coders, data scientists, topic experts, and interested members of the public to discover insights and develop new solutions.”

We’ll keep you posted on the details as they emerge, but knowing that we have EV charging leaders among our readership, here’s a push to reach out to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to try to ensure your presence at the event.

Image: EV charging stations and Mercedes B-Class Electric getting plugged in by kids by Kyle Field

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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