By Adam Jones
University of Alabama
Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that $16.5 million of bonds issued by the Alabama Public School and College Authority, authorized by the Alabama Legislature to fund capital improvements for the state’s education system, will allow for the construction of the Smart Communities and Innovation Building on the University of Alabama campus.
The name of the building and the scope of the project are subject to the approval of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.
“We are deeply grateful to Gov. Ivey and our state elected officials for their leadership in boosting the university’s existing expertise and research innovation in the area of transportation, and are truly appreciative for support from the board of trustees and the UA System Office in moving this transformative project forward,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “The Smart Communities and Innovation Building will be the only one of its kind in the United States and is a prime example of the type of partnerships necessary for innovation and workforce and economic development.”
UA will strengthen its long-standing relationship with Alabama Power Company and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International with the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) Initiative, designed to meet the needs of the booming electric vehicle market and support Alabama’s transportation network. The AMP Initiative will be housed in the Smart Communities and Innovation Building.
The AMP Initiative will serve as a research and development hub for creating and sustaining modern mobility and power technologies, developing charging infrastructure and managing power delivery to support large-scale growth in electric vehicles.
“This initiative will further strengthen UA’s status as a leader in mobility and power research and provides a great opportunity for a strong coalition of partners to address innovation, workforce development and commercialization in mobility and power research,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “The University of Alabama looks forward to collaborating with Alabama Power Company and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.”
The partnership will benefit undergraduate and graduate students through expanded mentoring, internships and career possibilities while providing opportunities for these students to participate in world-class research that is on the cutting edge of industry. These activities will lead to the development of the mobility and power workforce and create future leaders in the electrification of the transportation network.
Alabama is third in the nation for auto exports, with $7.5 billion in Alabama-made vehicles and parts exported in 2018. MBUSI is undergoing a $1 billion expansion to support electric vehicle production and recently announced plans to become an electric-only car maker by the end of the decade.
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.