Zūm, a startup providing child transportation for school districts and families, aims to use its fleet of electric school buses when they are needed most.
The company is partnering with AutoGrid, which provides energy management and distribution software, to make the transition According to a statement from the companies, Zūm’s fleet of electric school buses is one of the largest virtual power plants in the world. Zūm eventually plans to build a fleet of 10,000 electric buses by 2025. Once Zūm hits the 10,000 EV bus goal, the company says it will have the ability to send one gigawatt of energy back to the grid. To put that on a scale, that’s enough to power 110 million LED lightbulbs, or 300,000 homes. However, the zoom falls far short of that 10,000-bus target. Currently only 10% of the company’s buses are electric due to supply constraints, CEO and co-founder Ritu Narayan told ClearTips.
“School buses are the biggest battery on wheels,” Narayan said. “Interestingly, they are not used when there is a peak time for electricity, so either in the evening or in the summer. So our big plan is not just what we are actually using the vehicles for during the day. “
This scope of partnership, while a creative way to remodel school bus fleets, is becoming more common in the electric vehicle industry. As EV ownership grows, companies like Zūm are recognizing the need for transacting when it comes to an increasingly strained energy grid. This week, mobility company Revel announced that it will be working with Grid Rewards, an app that provides similar services to AutoGrid, to adjust its e-moped fleet charging schedule so that it can provide power back to the grid when needed. Can you
School buses present a great opportunity to share this kind of energy, today more than ever. The Biden administration has proposed a $25 billion investment in electric school buses. There are over 500,000 yellow school buses carrying over 27 million students daily.
According to Narayan, the companies are starting partnerships in San Francisco, where Zūm has a fleet of 206 school buses, and in the Oakland Unified School District, where it has 70 buses. Zūm has aspirations to expand across the country. The company already works with California school districts, as well as Seattle, Chicago and Dallas, and is targeting Washington DC further.
“The transition to EVs for the school transport sector will play a vital role in helpingING communities improve air quality and environmental health for student travelersresidents of ND area,” the company said in a statement.