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The Mankato Area Foundation (MAF), in collaboration with the Olseth Family Foundation; Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU) and South Central College (SCC) is proud to announce the second annual Recharge Mankato. The event, which will include free test drives of the latest electric vehicles and open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21 in the Myers Field House on the MNSU campus.

Last year, the inaugural event brought community leaders together to highlight the importance of electrifying the region’s transportation, and over 160 individuals had the opportunity to drive or ride in an electric vehicle (EV). In 2019, MAF and its partners are looking to build on the excitement of last year and produce a bigger and better Recharge Mankato.

“Last year was terrific, but this year’s event has grown considerably in size and scope,” said Nancy Zallek, President and CEO of the Mankato Area Foundation. “We anticipate hundreds of people will ride in or drive an electric vehicle, but I’m also excited about our ability to showcase local students from District 77, MNSU and SCC. I know our guests will be amazed by their innovative solutions and the latest technologies designed to springboard us toward clean energy adoption. Additionally, area vendors working in this area will bring an array of products featuring electric energy.”

The concept behind Recharge Mankato started in late 2017 when the Olseth Family Foundation approached MAF about the concept of an “EV ride and drive” to promote plug-in vehicle adoption throughout the Greater Mankato region. Their dream was to engage our community around EV adoption and infrastructure to position Mankato to lead the state in the emerging clean energy economy. Their audacious goal is to have 40% of all new vehicles in the region be plug-in EVs by 2030.

“This type of partnership between a private family foundation, a local community foundation, and our local educational institutions is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Jon Olseth, (title) of Olseth Family Foundation.

“I attended last year’s event and got so excited about this concept that I am putting a fast charger in the parking ramp of the new Eide Bailly Center,” local business owner Tony Frentz said. “It’s clear to me that this is our future and I want to help lead Mankato in supporting the necessary infrastructure.”


Another addition to this year’s event is philanthropic; for each test drive at this year’s Recharge Mankato, $20 will be donated by the Olseth Family Foundation to Mankato VEX Robotics—a club and competition created for students of all ages to participate in hands-on STEM learning and problem-solving. Our local teams will also be giving demonstrations of their latest challenges to Recharge Mankato attendees.