Each day, many students cross the Fifth Street Bridge not thinking much of the downtown connector that exhales exhaust below; but a few are working to electrify the cars that pass beneath.


In a competition hosted by the City of Atlanta and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, a team of Georgia Tech students earned first prize and a monetary award for proposing a system for electric vehicle adoption in Atlanta.

Undergraduate students Corbin Klett, Matt Jacobson, Logan Marett, Kevin Miron and Andrew Vaziri earned $5,000 for their proposal of how to drive demand for 50,000 electric cars on Atlanta’s roads during a two-year period. The students represent both Solar Jackets, Georgia Tech’s student group dedicated to the design, creation and expansion of solar technology, and the College of Management’s Technology and Management Program.


“Our approach was to devise creative and unique solutions to electric vehicle adoption, emphasizing ways of reducing the cost to the city government,” said Jacobson. “We stressed branding and education, creating a new ‘EV Brand’ we dubbed ChargeATL, and a website mockup to go along with it.”


The City will use funding received from the Department of Energy to implement ideas generated from the competition, with the goal of the Atlanta area being the first region in the country to have 50,000 electric vehicles on its roads. The Mayor’s office wanted to utilize the creativity of Georgia students to find ways to make the state competitive in this market.


“The Solar Jackets were incredible, coming up with as much as they did on their own,” said Jules Toraya, program manager in the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “They stood out over the rest because they had answers — answers to tough questions, how to get budgets — and you could tell they had scoped out their ideas and had conviction about them.” Execution of these ideas will begin with an effort to pass electric vehicle-related legislation in the fall.


Four other teams presented at the competition on Sept. 13, including three from Tech and one from Emory. The groups were chosen from a pool of nearly 30 team applications spanning many Georgia universities, including Tech, Emory and the University of Georgia.


“It was an exciting opportunity to be able to tackle a problem the City of Atlanta is facing and feel like we could have an impact,” said Melissa McCoy, who participated on another Georgia Tech team. “The Solar Jackets team did a truly amazing job.”


Source: Georgia Institute of Technology


Published on 4th October 2011