Smart Charging and V2G

Smart charging and V2G are critical components of reducing electric vehicle operating costs. Smart charging software ensures that your vehicle charging schemes are optimized for off-peak hours, and keep your fleet batteries at the perfect level of charge that operations require. V2G provides stability and resilience for grid operators and potentially unlocks and additional source of revenue that can help offset the initial costs of procuring an electric school bus

Smart Charging

Smart charging refers to software platforms used to charge multiple vehicles across a fleet. These platforms can gauge the amount of power a bus needs to meet its route requirements, and can schedule electric bus charging at times when the cost of electricity is lowest.

 

Benefits of smart charging platforms include:

  • Prioritizing charging during periods of cheap electricity

  • Balancing overall loads on the grid

  • "Peak Shaving" of electricity demand by setting a maximum level of current that the charger can draw at a particular time

  • Balancing power distribution to individual chargers across a whole depot

  • Dynamically adapting charging rates and schedules to keep pace with utility tariffs

  • helping transportation directors and fleet managers determine the optimum number and type of chargers needed during the charging infrastructure planning phase

  • Automating specific charging rates, times, and amounts for each vehicle in the fleet

  • Informing decisions regarding on site solar generation and energy storage

Vehicle Charging Stations
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Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

V2G is a promising new technology that can provide fleet operators with greater economies of operation. Buses and chargers with V2G capability are able to

  • Receive and supply power to the grid when connected to a bi-directional charger

  • provide backup power to school buildings in an emergency

  • generate significant cost-saving for Districts by allowing them to sell power back to the grid during peak hours and recharging either at night or from District owned solar panels 

 

While the battery longevity can be slightly reduced by V2G connections, the degradation is very modest and V2G revenues more than make up the difference.

 

To take full advantage of V2G benefits, fleets will need to procure:

  • V2G-capable DC chargers 

  • V2G-enabled electric bus with a bidirectional onboard charger

  • V2G-capable smart charging management platform

 

 The whitepaper below, produced by Cenex, outlines a V2G pilot program and contains more information on the technology and potential for commercial integration.

Telematics

Fleet management software and telematics platforms such as GeoTab, Fleetio, Azuga, ViriCiti, or others help monitor operator efficiency and inform smart charging schedules. Diligent monitoring will also allow operators to plan efficient infrastructure decisions, thus ensuring that districts get the most utility from electric school bus procurements and are empowered to address performance issues promptly and thoroughly.