Oakland school district now has a 100% electric, V2G-capable school bus fleet

The transition to electric school buses is well underway in California—school districts in the state had ordered over 2,000 electric buses as of late 2023.

In May, the Oakland Unified school district announced the conversion of its entire school bus fleet to EVs. (And none too soon—the American Lung Association recently reported that the Bay Area’s levels of particle pollution are the fifth-worst of any metro area in the US.)

Student transportation services company Zum (pronounced “zoom”) is handling the electrification project. With the help of grant money from the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program and the California Air Resources Board, Zum purchased 74 electric school buses and bidirectional chargers. Zum will manage charging through a V2G-capable platform that will deliver energy back to the grid as needed when the buses are parked.

Oakland-headquartered Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is supporting the project, and delivering the energy needed to charge the electric school bus fleet. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reported that over 90% of Oakland’s energy comes from renewable sources.

Oakland’s fleet of 74 buses is comparatively small—there were some 450,000 school buses operating in the US in 2023. That number included over 1,000 electric units, and 5,000 more were in the pipeline.

Oakland isn’t the only community where Zum is active. Zum has deployed electric school buses in significantly larger districts, including San Francisco Unified and Los Angeles Unified, and is also electrifying buses in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

“This historic milestone is a win-win proposition,” said Zum founder and CEO Ritu Narayan. “Electric school buses with V2G provide students with cleaner, fume-free transportation and allow us to send untapped energy from the bus batteries back to the grid, creating an enormous impact on grid resilience. Zum is proud to have delivered on this ambitious project a year ahead of schedule.”

Source: Electrify News

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