School Buses as Batteries

November 7, 2019

magic20school

Yale Climate Connections:

In 2018, five electric school buses hit the streets of White Plains, New York. They provide a quiet ride with no tailpipe emissions. Soon, they’ll do even more.

Ari Kahn is with Con Edison, the utility serving White Plains. As electric buses became available, Con Edison began considering their potential benefits.

“We were able to kind of come in and say, ‘Huh, now that a school bus is electric, what other capabilities does it have?’” Kahn says.

Con Edison is leading a pilot project to use White Plains’ buses as a backup energy source. In the summer, when they’re not being driven, the buses can charge up at night, and then the electricity stored in the batteries can be sent back to the grid as needed.

Kahn says this can help the utility meet demand for electricity at peak times – such as hot afternoons when air conditioners are running.

One bus does not provide a lot of power, but there are almost half a million school buses in the U.S., so Kahn says it’s a strategy that could be scaled up.

The utilities would pay for the electricity, so Kahn says the arrangement could help school bus operators recoup some of the cost of an electric bus.

“They have an opportunity to make money using their school buses as summertime batteries,” he says.

Kahn says it’s just one added benefit of investing in clean buses for kids across the country.

6 Responses to “School Buses as Batteries”


  1. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    Con Edison is leading a pilot project to use White Plains’ buses as a backup energy source. In the summer, when they’re not being driven, the buses can charge up at night, and then the electricity stored in the batteries can be sent back to the grid as needed.
    Kahn says this can help the utility meet demand for electricity at peak times – such as hot afternoons when air conditioners are running.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    School buses are driven pretty much only on weekday mornings and early to mid afternoons, so they can power up both in the middle of the day, during peak solar power supply, and at night, during low demand times when wind, hydro, geothermal, etc. will be more than enough to supply society’s needs. So the school buses would be available at other times, especially to help flatten the duck later on weekday afternoons. Many other vehicles could be used this way as well—private, public/government, commercial, and industrial vehicles of all kinds.

    Other public buses are used more generally throughout the day, especially during the first part of the late afternoon ramp up, but can also charge at night, on weekends, and all day through bus roof panels and instant top-off bus stops. That means there are already about 450,000 EV buses available for grid use in China, and soon will be millions all over the world.

  3. leslie graham Says:

    Wow!
    A whole FIVE electric buses.
    Meanwhile, out here in the real world, China already has 400,000 electric buses in service.

    Words fail at how far behind the US has fallen in the last decade.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The US has had help staying behind the times for at least two decades.
      Just ask the American Petroleum Institute and the bought politicians.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      As RWG implies, it’s not so much that the US has “fallen behind” in a general worldwide movement, but rather that the US has really not been allowed to participate fully because of the dark money, the API, and the “bought politicians”—-semantics maybe, but IMO an important distinction.


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