Illinois tests vehicle-to-grid with school buses

Illinois tests vehicle-to-grid with school buses

Blue Bird buses with Cummins EV systems can provide energy back to the community during peak demand.

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Pekin, Illinois – Blue Bird Corp. delivered the first operational DC fast charge vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-capable school bus to Pekin, Illinois. Using Cummins' PowerDrive electric vehicle (EV) system and technology from Nuvve Holding Corp., the bus can store feed energy from its batteries back to the city’s electric grid during peak demand.

V2G technology could create secondary revenue streams, especially for large commercial fleets with vast amounts of storage capacity. School buses could charge overnight when demands on power grids are low then feed the electricity back to the city on hot summer days when air conditioners place huge demands on utilities. Nuvve’s V2G platform would allow the buses to sell power back to the city for more than it paid to charge batteries as peak-demand electricity tends to be pricier.

“Not only are we improving the health of our students, drivers, and communities by reducing emissions, but our V2G capabilities allow us to store clean electrical energy and to generate revenue by reselling unused energy back to the grid during peak demand,” said Daniel Jost, fleet manager for the City of Pekin. The city has purchased two Blue Bird EV buses.

“Our system allows electric school buses to perform to their fullest potential by providing grid services when plugged in and charging,” said Gregory Poilasne, chairman and CEO of Nuvve. “This reduces load on the grid and will make emergency back-up power from buses a reality in the near future. With our partners at Blue Bird, we’re on a mission to make the electrification of school buses more affordable and efficient, and our V2G platform positions us to do that.”

Two school districts – Hollis Consolidated and Pekin Public schools – are members of the Bus-2-Grid Initiative, a membership service of the Future Green Energy Consortium, which helps school districts leverage V2G revenue opportunities and secure grant funding to electrify their fleets.

Hollis Consolidated School District’s electric school bus purchase makes the district’s fleet 100% electric powered.

“The benefits are far and wide with our Blue Bird electric bus,” said Chad Jones, superintendent and principal of Hollis Consolidated School District #328. “Compared with diesel, service requirements are significantly reduced, and we are providing 100% green transportation for our students.”