Electric school bus in Massachusetts demonstrates the benefits of V2G

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) is an excellent by-product of electric vehicles as it has many advantages. An EV equipped with V2G, for example, can send power from the battery to the grid to help balance demand. Last summer, a battery-powered school bus in Massachusetts demonstrated V2G as a viable technology.

School buses are ideal candidates for V2G because of the nature of their operation. After completing their rounds in the morning and afternoon, they often sit unused, and the energy stored in their batteries can be tapped for better use. The average school bus works for six hours per day and remains parked for more than 150 days per year.

Summer is the best time of the year for testing sending power to the grid as demand is usually at the highest due to air conditioning use.

The electric school bus in Massachusetts had a 226 kWh Proterra battery with a bidirectional charging system. It yielded 3 MW to the grid in more than 30 instances during the summer months, covering more than 50 hours. The power supplied by the single bus was enough to power a house for more than three months.

Highland Electric Fleets supplies electric buses, chargers, and electricity to schools in Beverly. The schools pay a subscription and avoid the logistics of running and maintaining the buses. Highland uses Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley buses built by Thomas Built Buses that go 135 miles on a single charge.

The company collaborated with National Grid to connect to the grid, which helped lower demand on the grid in time peak hours.

The school buses thus helped to reduce pollution by preventing the use of fossil fuel to power peaker plants. Supplying power to the grid comes with compensation for the EV owner, too, to encourage more people to do the same.

V2G can help cover the cost of running the school buses operated by Highland as the revenue helps lower the subscription costs.

CEO of Highland, Duncan McIntyre, said, “Highland is thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking program as the integrator of industry-leading technology, forward-thinking energy policy, and tremendous community leadership to solve some of the country’s toughest challenges. We’re so honored to support those on the ground making amazing stories like this come to reality every day.”

“Beverly is proud to lead in electrifying our school bus fleet and to be at the forefront nationally, to successfully discharge battery-stored electricity back to the grid,” said Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill. “We look forward to taking full advantage of the economic, environmental, and operational benefits that V2G technology offers.”