The Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation has kicked off its Electric School Bus Pilot Project supported with Volkswagen settlement funds following dieselgate. The programme uses electric school buses of various makes and includes V2G testing.
Take Lion Electric that will deliver eleven all-electric school buses already this autumn. These models will transport pupils in Michigan’s districts of Zeeland Public Schools, Oxford Community Schools, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Gaylord Community Schools and Three Rivers Community Schools.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hopes not only for lower emissions but that these zero-emission models will “allow for students to learn about advancing technology and see what a real impact they can have when it comes to climate change”.
More so, the Association Electric School Bus pilot includes testing with further implications for the state. Proterra, in partnership with DTE Energy and Hoekstra Transportation, is launching a project that combines pupil transport and a vehicle-to-grid study over the next five years.
For this, a total of six Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley powered by Proterra electric vehicle technology, and the company’s 60kW charging system was selected by Ann Arbor and Roseville public schools in Michigan. Sean Gouda, Manager of Business Development at DTE Energy that oversees the pilot is positive that the set-up “will allow us to study specific charging behaviours and vehicle-to-grid capabilities, which are important for utilities to fully understand,” before embarking on smart grids.
The Proterra electric school buses pack 220 kWh of total energy capacity and can fast charge in about three hours. Proterra has been offering its technology to bus makers such as Thomas Built for some time now and also received funding through Daimler last year for electric school buses.
Michigan is the first state in the U.S. to dedicate the entirety of its first round of VW settlement funding to support transitioning their fleets to all-electric school buses. The settlement that followed Volkwagen’s installation of emissions testing defeat devices in “clean diesel” cars is worth a total of 2.8 billion dollars. Michigan is to receive close to 65 million dollars.