Electric school bus program lands vehicle-to-grid funding in California

March 18, 2024 | by magnews24.com

Electric school bus program lands vehicle-to-grid funding in California

Lion Electric’s LionD all-electric school bus model. (CNW Group/The Lion Electric Co.)

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded BorgWarner and project partners Fermata Energy and Lion Electric a $3 million grant for a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project meant to bring V2G solutions for services provided by American Transportation to California school districts.

The project aims to enable electric school bus batteries to support the grid with additional power during emergency events when parked and to generate revenue through participation in demand response programs and other value streams to lower the vehicles’ total cost of ownership.

The grant, funded through the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, will include the installation of 21 BorgWarner 125 kW UL-listed, combined charging system (CCS) protocol bidirectionally-enabled chargers, paired with a minimum of 20 LionD all-electric school buses. Fermata Energy’s Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) software platform will manage the charging and discharging of the buses.

According to the CEC’s grant-funded opportunity Electric School Bus Bi-Directional Infrastructure (GFO 22-612), electric school buses with bidirectional charging capabilities can help offset the impacts and challenges of grid reliability and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. Fermata says some California school districts already have electric school buses that are ready to take advantage of vehicle-to-grid integration, with more electric school buses expected to be ordered throughout the state in the near future.

The deployment of V2G technology for the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), in addition to American Transportation, the school bus fleet operator servicing these students, will aim to support grid reliability and mitigate the impact of PSPS events and extreme weather events.

While California leads the nation in electric school bus adoption, Fermata says few California school districts with electric bus fleets are currently using bidirectional charging systems for mobility and energy services.

California isn’t the only state making moves in the electric school bus space. New York recently opened funding for installing Level 2 or Direct Current Fast Charging chargers and associated electrical upgrades for public school districts and the bus operators that contract with them.

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the program is now accepting applications from public school districts and school bus operators. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the level of funding provided is based on the number of buses a school district or bus operator has purchased or is currently purchasing.

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