Obama White House Hosts First-Ever ‘Electric Vehicle Datathon’

With the days counting down to its conclusion, the Obama Administration is attempting to boost battery electric vehicles today by hosting a first-ever Electric Vehicle Datathon.

The purpose is to uncover more ways to use data to 1) get a better understanding of how plug-in vehicles help the environment and economy, and 2) make electric and plug-in hybrids more attractive to U.S. consumers.

The event, held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and four of its National Laboratories will bring together EV experts, automakers, charging-station providers, cities and states and the software-development and data-analysis communities, according to a White House blog post.

Participants will “review currently available data, identify opportunities for improvement, and discuss new data sets and approaches that can enable EVs going forward,” the blog post said.

“The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to combat climate change, increase access to clean energy technologies, and reduce our dependence on oil,” the announcement reads. “Already, in the past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models has increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70 percent, and we have increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40-fold increase.”

SEE ALSO: EV Charging Corridors Coming to U.S. National Highways

The White House earlier this month announced a series of electric-car charging corridors and anticipates that it will be among the potential sources that will generate new data.

The corridor plan calls on the Department of Transportation to establish 48 of these corridors along national highways that cross 35 states and cover almost 25,000 miles.

Existing or planned charging stations will be spaced at least every 50 miles along these routes.

More than two dozen states, electric utilities, carmakers, and other organizations have committed to accelerate charging infrastructure along the corridors.

In addition to the charging-corridor initiative, the White House announced plans to partner with 24 state and local governments to add more plug-in electric vehicles to their fleets.

The emerging field of data science is already creating widespread benefits in transportation such as real-time traffic alerts, crowd-sourced information on road conditions, and a wide array of new “smart cities” technologies, all of which benefit EVs from this improvement in data, computing and analytics, according to the blog.

A big challenge thrown at the datathon’s participants is to uncover what new information could be revealed by “mashing up” existing data.