Oakland is now first in the US to have a 100% electric school bus fleet – and it’s V2G

An Oakland, California, school district is the first in the US to transition to a 100% electric school bus system with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. 

Modern student transportation platform Zum has provided Oakland Unified School District with a fleet of 74 electric school buses and bidirectional chargers. Utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) supplied 2.7 megawatts (MW) of load to Zum’s Oakland EV-ready facility. The fleet will be managed through Zum’s AI-enabled technology platform.

“Oakland becoming the first in the nation to have a 100% electric school bus fleet is a huge win for the Oakland community and the nation as a whole,” said Kim Raney, executive director of transportation at Oakland Unified School District. “The families of Oakland are disproportionately disadvantaged and affected by high rates of asthma and exposure to air pollution from diesel fuels.”

The 100% electric school bus fleet is not only emissions-free but also plays a critical dual role as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP), giving 2.1 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy back to the power grid at scale annually. Here’s how it works:

Student transportation is the largest mass transit system in the United States, moving 27 million students twice daily. Today, over 90% of the US’s 500,000 school buses run on carbon-based fuels, releasing over 8.4 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Zum, which already has a presence in 14 states, says its next step is to electrify the school bus fleets of San Francisco Unified and Los Angeles Unified school districts, which have fleets three and six times the size of Zum’s Oakland fleet, respectively.

Read more: EPA announces $1B in grants for electric school buses and heavy-duty vehicles

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