Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer The Lion Electric Co. (Lion Electric) has successfully used its electric school buses to supply electricity back to Con Edison utility customers as part of its vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pilot in New York state.
The project, which began in 2018 in a partnership among Lion, green energy technology company Nuvve Corp., White Plains City School District, and National Express, is reportedly the first successful deployment in the state of a V2G pilot, according to a news release from the EV manufacturer.
The V2G charging and discharging takes place at a depot in North White Plains, where the buses remain plugged into a charger when not in use. The batteries are charged when demand for power is low, and the chargers are programmed to reverse the power flow into the grid at times when the buses are not in operation. By charging when demand — and thus the price for electricity — is low and discharging when demand is high, operators can save money on energy costs for their fleet.
The fleet of five LionC buses is operated for the school district by National Express, which also pays for the energy costs during the school year. Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and National Express contributed to the purchase of the electric bus fleet, while Lion Electric aided in the project design.
As a result of the deployment, Con Edison can now transmit energy from the district’s LionC school buses back into the grid, and that energy can then be distributed to customers aided by Nuvve’s V2G technology.
The success of this initial V2G pilot deployment serves as an example of how school buses — which are ideal for V2G integration due to their daily use patterns and overnight storage — can be used to sell power back to the grid when demand for energy is high, saving operators money and contributing to the condition of the grid. As such, all of Lion’s buses and heavy-duty vehicles come equipped standard with V2G technology, according to the EV manufacturer.
As governments around the globe pursue increasingly ambitious carbon neutrality goals based largely on renewable energy sources and zero-emission transportation, Lion Electric noted, V2G integration becomes an increasingly important tool in balancing grids — especially when considering the high-peak supply inherent to renewable energy sources.
“This important milestone for V2G outlines the cooperation required between utilities, fleet operators, school districts, and regulatory organizations to successfully implement a project of this scale,” said Marc-Andre Page, vice president of commercial operations at Lion Electric.
“We think electric school buses may provide an opportunity to achieve two of our company’s goals, which are 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.”
Watch a video highlighting the project below.