Read this case study to learn how Synop, in partnership with Highland Electric Fleets, BorgWarner, Proterra, and Thomas Built Buses, provided software solutions in a groundbreaking program using V2G technology for electric school buses (ESBs).
The North American electric grid is facing mounting challenges in its ability to provide reliable electricity, particularly in the face of extreme weather and surging peak loads. To address these challenges, backup power storage is essential, as demonstrated by recent events like Hurricane Ida, the Texas cold snaps, and the 2022 heatwave. It's critical for the electric grid to remain dependable and robust to keep vital services, such as nursing homes, healthcare facilities, and schools, running smoothly. As electrification continues to expand and more products and services are added to the grid, new and innovative solutions are needed to manage disruptions and minimize the impact of power outages or demand spikes on communities.
Synop’s commercial charging and energy management software has the capability to transform EBSs into a practical solution that helps stabilize the electric grid. The software integrates with crucial components like vehicles, chargers, and utilities, enabling V2G transactions by receiving prompts from the utility for a specific time period. The platform then verifies the fleet charging schedule to confirm excess capacity. Upon validation, the platform delivers the appropriate charging schedule to the chargers using the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), and the excess energy is discharged from the battery back to the grid.
In addition to stabilizing grids with renewable energy and reducing emissions, V2G technology also reduces energy costs for EV fleet owners. Although bi-directional charging infrastructure is typically more expensive than traditional chargers, larger vehicles with bigger battery packs like school buses parked for most of the day have the shortest ROI. Additionally, more electric utilities are offering programs that compensate electric fleets and battery storage resources for discharging energy, generating revenue without affecting their regular operations.
During the summers of 2021 and 2022, Synop participated in a commercial V2G program for National Grid (electric utility). Led by Highland Electric Fleets (deployment manager) with BorgWarner (DC fast charging system), Proterra (battery and drivetrain technologies), and Thomas Built Buses (OEM vehicle), the 2021 program marked the first time battery storage from ESBs was used in a commercial V2G program in the United States. The results showed that one bus discharged 10.78 MWh hours to the Massachusetts grid over 158 hours across both summers, generating $23,500 in revenue.
This study showcases the potential of V2G technology in stabilizing the electric grid and reducing the cost of fleet electrification for school districts and municipal entities. The success of the program in using battery storage from ESBs in a commercial V2G program is a promising step toward a more sustainable future.
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Note: This Synop success story is a revised version of a case study published by BorgWarner in March 2023. That final paper can be found here for more details.