California-based Palermo Union Elementary School District is partnering with electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions provider Amply Power to reduce the cost to charge its electric school buses.
Through the partnership, Palermo’s electric school buses will charge at electricity rates at an equivalent to $1.19 a gallon of diesel, 50% lower than the district’s previous electricity costs from unmanaged EV charging, according to a news release from Amply Power. The company's comprehensive charging-as-a-service platform will reportedly include securing funding for the project, installing charging stations and onsite energy storage, warranty coverage, guaranteed uptime, a resilience plan, and energy bill management through 2026.
Currently, Palermo’s electric buses make up 80% of its total fleet and includes five Lion Electric Co. Type C electric buses, with a smaller Type A Blue Bird electric bus planned for 2021, according to Amply Power. The project’s hardware includes six 16.2kW Level 2 chargers and approximately 700kWh of lithium-ion battery storage, according to the EV charging solutions provider.
“Although the coronavirus pandemic created several obstacles for us, we were able to start using our electric fleet in November 2020 as our schools opened for in-person instruction four days per week. On March 10, 2020, we returned to five-day, in-person instruction, which allowed more students to be on campuses and more students requiring transportation,” said Carlos Aguilar, director of maintenance, operations, and transportation for Palermo Union Elementary School District. "While transitioning to electric can be intimidating and costly, Amply’s comprehensive and scalable charge management services are taking the planning and management burden off our staff and replacing it with confidence in our fleet’s performance and predictable, fixed fuel pricing.”
Amply helped advocate for Palermo to secure $49,839 in funding from the Butte County Air Quality Management District’s Community Air Protection Incentives Program, according to the EV charging solutions provider. The district also secured $35,488 in charger rebates and “make ready” Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) incentives from utilities provider PG&E’s EV Fleet program, bringing the total funding amount to $85,327. (This financial support reportedly eliminated the need for any upfront investment by the school district.)
“Since most fleets have difficulty measuring the fiscal portion of energy usage, the ability to have full insight into a fixed rate allows for planning, financial management, and budgeting that opens the door to scale zero-emission initiatives,” said Vic Shao, founder and CEO of Amply Power. “With off-peak charging rates as high as 19 cents a kilowatt-hour, and on-peak as high at 39 cents, the school district now has the peace of mind that it won’t be hit with peak rates for charging or unexpectedly high utility bills.”