Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp announced this week that its proposed business combination partner, Lion Electric, has been successful in using its electric school buses to supply electricity back to Con Edison utility customers as part of the company’s vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pilot deployment in White Plains, New York.
Lion is a manufacturer of purpose-built all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles.
The project, which began in 2018 in partnership among Lion, Nuvve, White Plains School District and National Express, is known by the company to be the first successful deployment in the state of New York of a vehicle-to-grid pilot whereby electricity flows from electric school buses back to the grid —a significant milestone in advancing V2G technology in North America.
As a result of the deployment, Con Edison is now able to transmit energy from the LionC school buses of the White Plains School District back into the grid, which energy can then be distributed to customers aided by Nuvve’s V2G technology.
The success of this initial V2G pilot deployment is significant as it 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. As such, all of Lion’s buses and heavy-duty vehicles come equipped standard with V2G technology onboard, providing new ROI opportunities for its customers to unlock and realize.
As governments around the globe pursue increasingly ambitious carbon neutrality goals based largely on renewable energy sources and zero-emission transportation, V2G integration could become an increasingly important tool in balancing grids — especially when taking into account the high peak supply inherent to renewable energy sources.
“V2G has been a trendy word in the EV industry for many years, but now we have proven that V2G is real thanks to our great partners at Con Edison, Nuvve, White Plains School District and National Express,” said Marc-Andre Page, Vice President of Commercial Operations at Lion Electric.
“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,” he added.
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 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 are 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 collaboratively contributed to the purchase of the electric bus fleet, while Lion aided in the project design.
“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 of the project below: