Vehicle-to-grid technology firm Nuvve has struck a deal with a US-based school bus manufacturer to turn them into mobile storage units that can help balance the power grid.
Busmaker Blue Bird, based in Fort Valley, Georgia, has recently expanded its electric bus manufacturing capacity six fold due to surging demand. The firm can now make up to 1,000 units a year. It expects to have 300 on the road by the year end.
School buses appear ideal applications for vehicle-to-grid services – because their use and battery requirements are predictable and they are parked for most of the day.
They also have decent power capacity: Blue Bird buses use a 155kWh battery, giving them a 120 mile max range on a single charge. If depot based, a fleet of electric buses therefore provides a significant source of flexibility for grid operators. Under the deal with Nuvve, both of Blue Bird’s school bus types are now equipped with a standard CCS connector capable of V2G charging and discharging those 155kWh batteries.
As power systems around the world increasingly run on renewable generation rather than baseload thermal plant, storage and flexible technologies will likely become much more valuable. Meanwhile, electrification of transport will require far more active management of the power network to handle the massive increase in throughput.
“V2G has the ability to make our electric school buses more affordable for districts”, said Blue Bird CEO Phil Horlock, with customers “increasingly looking at alternative-power solutions to the traditional diesel engine”. He sees a $150bn addressable market in the US and Canada alone.
Nuvve is now looking to strike similar arrangements with busmakers and other OEMs in Europe, where it has a joint venture with EDF called Dreev. Operating across the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy, its aim is to roll out vehicle-to-grid (V2G) commercially while enhancing smart charging, or V1G services.
“We are definitely looking at increasing partnerships with OEMs and for commercial distribution of V2G services,” said Nuvve EVP of marketing Marc Trahand. “We are at the convergence of two large industries, transportation and energy, and players on both sides are valuable partners to roll out V2G to customers.”
Paige Mullen, from Dreev’s London office, discusses the outlook for V2G in the UK, progress to date and potential revenue streams, here.