The Smart Columbus Experience Center was officially opened to the public on June 30th in Columbus, Ohio. The Grand Opening kicked off with a block party that brought residents and visitors in to experience the transportation technologies being showcased at the new facility, including electric vehicles, public transit, car-sharing, ride-sharing and bike-sharing.
The Experience Center was established to connect the public with the numerous options emerging for next generation transportation. The vast majority of customers who visit a traditional dealership, especially when looking for information about electric vehicles, come away from the experience less than impressed. The Experience Center is a way to integrate electric vehicles into a friendly, highly informative, low pressure environment that aims to educate customers and even offer test drives.
Vehicles on display or available for test drives include a BMW i3 provided by BMW, a Chevrolet Bolt provided by Dave Gill Chevrolet, a Honda Clarity provided by Honda, a Mercedes-Benz GLE 55e provided by Daimler, a Nissan LEAF provided by Nissan North America and a Toyota Prius Prime provided by Toyota. An electric motorcycle provided by NXP and a Ford Ojo electric scooter will also be on display. A brief investigation revealed that Ojo Scooters is based in my current city of Oxnard, California, so we will be getting in touch with their team to talk shortly.
It was not established as a means of shoring up gaps in the dealership, but as a way to broadcast the vision for the Columbus of tomorrow. Cities are evolving in a variety of ways, and part of that transformation is communicating out that it is happening. Electric cars are here today and can save you money and make for a more pleasant experience. Pairing a bike and the new car-sharing system in Columbus can help you stay in shape, save money and convert your garage into the scrapbooking paradise you’ve always imagined. Ok, I’m taking some liberties with that last one, but you get the idea.
“Smart Columbus is about envisioning a future for our city that benefits us all, and transforming mobility to make our community safer, more equitable, more vibrant and more sustainable,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “I hope every resident who visits the center will see how our efforts to embrace the latest mobility technologies will personally benefit them; and that they will identify ways — big and small — that they can act to help us transport our city to the future.”
The initiative is aimed at sharing the vision for the city of Columbus, Ohio with its residents and the world by building a bridge from the technologies of today to the city it aspires to be. This is done by connecting people directly with the technologies that exist today and weaving those technologies together through video, pictures, experiences and discussions into the singular vision for the future for the city.
The new Smart Columbus Experience Center was launched with funds from the $40 million Smart Cities grant that the city won back in 2016, which is sponsored by the US Department of Transportation and Microsoft co-founder’s Paul G. Allen Philanthropies.
The new facility is located right on the water in downtown Columbus, Ohio at 170 S. Civic Center Drive. Stop in or if you’re remote, head over to their website at https://smartcbus.com/experiencecenter/. After the Grand Opening, the Smart Columbus Experience Center will be open to the public seven days a week.