Nuvve Corporation, a San Diego-based, green energy technology company and a leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, has begun using the batteries on five electric school buses (e-buses) to provide power to Con Edison’s grid, marking the first time in New York State history that electricity has flowed from buses into a utility’s grid.
The e-buses are from Lion Electric, a North American leader in heavy-duty zero emission transportation with which Nuvve recently announced a collaboration to provide V2G-enabled school buses. By day, these e-buses carry students to schools in the White Plains area, displacing their diesel-powered counterparts. E-buses have shown to provide a cleaner ride for kids and, with lower CO2 emissions, can help better the air quality in the Westchester County community.
The project began in 2018 as a partnership among Lion, Nuvve, White Plains School District, National Express and First Priority Group with 5 electric school buses. The charging and discharging takes place at a depot in North White Plains. When plugged in, Nuvve’s V2G platform determines the optimal time to charge according to when rates are lowest. On nights and weekends, when the buses are parked and not in use, the system reverses the flow of power – 10 kilowatts from each bus – into the grid.
The goal of the project is to explore the technological and economic potential of using e-buses on a wider scale to improve air quality and grid reliability. There are approximately 1,000 school buses operating in Westchester and 8,000 in New York City that could make a significant difference to the environment if converted to electric with V2G capability.
“We think electric school buses may provide an opportunity to achieve two of our company’s goals: reducing carbon emissions and maintaining our industry-leading reliability” said Brian Ross, Con Edison’s manager for the project. “We are innovating to help our state and region achieve a clean energy future in which electric vehicles will have a big role.”
The White Plains school district put the buses on the road for the 2018-2019 school year and has found them to be a reliable source of transportation to date. Nuvve’s V2G software platform ensures that the energy delivered to the buses is prioritized to perform their daily driving routes while still delivering grid services when needed.
The upfront cost of e-buses is higher than traditional diesel ones. However, V2G enables the e-buses to discharge energy back to the grid and perform grid services, both of which can result in shared revenue and can help lower the total cost of ownership. These savings help make e-buses more attractive to school districts, the communities they serve, and the bus operators that provide the service.
“Our V2G software platform is designed to deliver grid services such as those to Con Edison from electric school buses”, said Gregory Poilasne, chairman and CEO of Nuvve Corporation. “The electric buses provide a cleaner environment for communities and help lower CO2 emissions while ensuring that driving energy needs are met every day.”
School schedules match up well with the power needs of Con Edison’s 3.5 million customers. School buses are generally idle during the summer, which is when utility customers’ need for power rises due to an increased use of air conditioning. Discharging power from a sufficient number of electric buses into the grid at these times of high demand would take stress off Con Edison electric-distribution equipment and increase grid resilience.
Nuvve is building alliances with both utilities and school bus manufacturers to enable a national roll out of V2G-enabled school buses, which Nuvve believes will eventually replace diesel buses at a competitive cost. Nuvve’s proprietary energy aggregator platform, called GIVe™, has been used around the world to transform electric vehicles into distributed energy resources (DERs) that can be controlled to deliver specific energy services to the grid.
Nuvve announced recently a definitive merger agreement with Newborn Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: NBAC), which will result in Nuvve becoming a listed public company at closing.