Oakland School District to fully electrify bus fleet

The Oakland Unified School District will be the first major school district in the USA to transition to a 100% electrified school bus system with vehicle-to-grid technology.

Image: Zum

Transportation technology platform Zum will provide a fleet of 74 electric school buses and bidirectional charging stations, which will be managed through its AI-enabled technology platform. This will make it the first school district to completely electrify its bus fleet. The fleet will not only transport students but is also planned to play a critical dual role as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP), providing up to 2.1 gigawatt-hours of energy back to the power grid at scale annually.

Zum calculates that about 500,000 school buses are active in the nation, of which around 90 per cent run on combustion engines. This is estimated to produce over 8.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

Kim Raney, Executive Director of Transportation at Oakland Unified School District extolled the health benefits of making the switch to electric mobility: “The families of Oakland are disproportionately disadvantaged and affected by high rates of asthma and exposure to air pollution from diesel fuels. Providing our students with cleaner and quieter transportation on electric school buses will be a game changer ensuring they have an equitable and stronger chance of success in the classroom.”

“We at Zum strongly believe it is time to move beyond pilots and deploy sustainability solutions at scale. Converting the Oakland Unified school bus fleet to 100% electric with VPP capability is the right step in that direction,” said Ritu Narayan, Founder and CEO of Zum. “This historic milestone is a win-win proposition: Electric school buses with V2G provide students with cleaner, fume-free transportation and allow us to send untapped energy from the bus batteries back to the grid, creating an enormous impact on grid resilience. Zum is proud to have delivered on this ambitious project a year ahead of schedule.”

Zum has set itself the target of electrifying “10,000 bidirectional school buses which will create the potential to supply 300 gigawatt hours of energy to the power grids annually.” Zum is also electrifying its bus fleets across the country, with San Francisco and Los Angeles to follow next.



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