With advances in EV technology, large commercial vehicles – starting (but not ending) with electric buses – are increasingly ripe for electrification.  This raises important questions: What is the best way to charge a fleet of electric buses?  What grid impacts do we need to anticipate?  And – though rarely asked – are there realistic opportunities to leverage electric buses as valuable distributed energy resources?

BC Hydro retained Dunsky to assess whether and under what conditions e-buses – fundamentally mobile battery storage units – could be used to provide power back to the grid when (and where) it’s needed most.  We reviewed approaches and standards for eBus charging, conducted an assessment of technical opportunities and challenges for V2G, and segmented the eBus market into various use cases.

Our research suggests that while transit buses are typically too busy to provide reliable grid support, other segments – namely school buses and sight-seeing buses – see a sufficient amount of downtime throughout the year to be partially devoted to V2G. In fact, V2G could provide an opportunity for these buses to generate revenue during periods when they would otherwise be parked and underutilized, in turn improving the business case for fleet electrification, while providing BC Hydro with a valuable reliability resource.

At Dunsky, we are thrilled to see growing interest in commercial fleet electrification, and are particularly pleased to be supporting our clients in multiple projects assessing the potential for medium- and heavy-duty EVs, including transit buses, school buses, refuse trucks, and short- and long-haul freight delivery.  Accordingly, we have expanded our EV Adoption model (EVA), designed to inform policy and program development by forecasting EV adoption opportunities under a range of scenarios, to encompass a broad array of commercial vehicles.