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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

Leading the Way

OPPD, schools partner on electric vehicle education

June 28, 2021 | Jason Kuiper | community, electric vehicles
electric vehicle education, classroom of students

Students from seven area schools learned about the benefits of electric vehicles recently thanks to a partnership between OPPD and the National Energy Foundation (NEF).

The program aimed to give teachers the resources for students to learn how electric vehicles (EVs) work and how they impact the environment. While EVs are becoming more common, many people still don’t understand how the vehicles work and what their benefits are compared to typical vehicles that consume gas.

“This was a one-day event where the schools that participated were given supplemental curriculum to learn more about EVs,” said Tricia McKnight, a product specialist at OPPD. “These students will be buying vehicles of their own one day and hopefully talking to their parents about the benefits of EVs.”

Electric vehicle education

Teachers at Ashland-Greenwood High School interviewed the students. Prior to the event, several of the students indicated the only thing they knew about EV’s is that they ran on electricity instead of gasoline. Afterwards, the students mentioned they would consider buying one in the future if it was cost effective. Another student said he learned how much money he can save by driving an EV instead of a vehicle that runs on gas. The EV vehicles’ performance and speed impressed one student.

As part of the education, students used materials and videos from the Department of Energy to compare fuel cost data, energy transformations and other topics. The schools involved were:

  • Ashland Greenwood
  • Bennington
  • Conestoga
  • Lewiston
  • Millard South
  • Omaha Central
  • Omaha South

OPPD is among one of four utilities nationwide that are currently piloting the rEV Program with NEF. The pilot will inform NEF and OPPD with future opportunities to continue to engage students with this type of curriculum. Both hope that this is only the beginning for the program and partnerships with area schools.

“It was good to see the students gaining valuable insight into what EVs are all about,” McKnight said. “This is a program we’d like to see expanding. NEF hopes to involve 100,000 students nationwide. We want to be active in our communities, and this was a great example of doing so.”

Electric vehicle rebates

OPPD also provides an EV Rebate Program that’s been popular with customers over the past four years. The rebates are available for the purchase of a new EV and a charger. The utility added a fleet vehicle replacement rebate for businesses in 2020. The 2020/2021 rebates sold out at the beginning of May; however a select number of new rebates will be available later this summer. Funding for rebates and EV Education is in collaboration with the NCEA with grant funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET).

OPPD is also developing an EV education website. It will be a one-stop shop for all information associated with the purchase of an electric vehicle. The website will tailor its resources to inform and educate customers on common misconceptions or barriers for purchasing an EV. The new resources will be available next month for customers to utilize.

With more automakers committing to EVs, OPPD will continue to educate customers and help make the transition to EVs as smooth as possible.

For more information check out www.oppd.com/EVRebates.

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

View all posts by Jason Kuiper >

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