Energy Commission Awards BorgWarner, Partners $3 Million V2G Project Grant


The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded BorgWarner Inc. and project partners Fermata Energy and The Lion Electric Company a $3 million grant for an innovative vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project.

This initiative is set to bring grid-supporting and cost-saving V2G solutions for services provided by American Transportation to California school districts, marking a significant step forward in energy management and the transition to electric school buses.

By working with BorgWarner, Fermata Energy and Lion Electric, the CEC will support the strengthening and decarbonization of California’s grid while pairing a fleet of electric school buses with AI-powered V2G technology. This project will ultimately enable electric school bus batteries to support the grid with additional power during emergency events when parked and to generate revenue through participation in demand response programs and other value streams to lower the vehicles’ total cost of ownership (TCO).

According to the CEC’s grant-funded opportunity Electric School Bus Bi-Directional Infrastructure (GFO 22-612), electric school buses with bidirectional charging capabilities can help offset the impacts and challenges of grid reliability and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. Some California school districts already have electric school buses that are ready to take advantage of vehicle-to-grid integration (VGI) benefits, with many more electric school buses expected to be ordered throughout the state.

The grant, funded through the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, will include the installation of 21 BorgWarner 125-kW UL-listed, combined charging system (CCS) protocol bidirectionally enabled chargers, paired with a minimum of 20 LionD all-electric school buses. Fermata Energy’s Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) software platform will optimize and manage the charging and discharging of the buses to maximize grid benefits and V2X revenue for the school districts.

Deployment of V2G technology for the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), in addition to American Transportation, the school bus fleet operator servicing these students, will support grid reliability and mitigate the impact of PSPS events and extreme weather events. It also will demonstrate the health benefits of zero-emission transportation solutions for communities leveraging V2G technology while generating revenue when selling power back to the grid.

“This CEC grant and project underscores the power of partnerships and our collective dedication to sustainability as we deploy this cutting-edge V2G bidirectional hardware and software solution,” says Tony Posawatz, CEO of Fermata Energy. “Together, we are advancing electric vehicle integration and grid support in California schools while enabling a viable path toward renewable energy for future generations.”

“American Transportation strives to be at the forefront of technology and innovation in an industry that often struggles to break free from its antiquated means of operation,” adds Dan Wilson, CEO of American Transportation. “With the assistance of the CEC grant and the company’s strong partnerships formed with BorgWarner, Fermata Energy, and Lion Electric, we are able to provide a glimpse into the future of safe, clean and environmentally sustainable student transportation.”

Fermata Energy’s AI-driven V2X software platform analyzes thousands of rapidly changing data points to manage and optimize EV charging and discharging. It simplifies participation of EV owners and operators in revenue- or savings-generating grid programs. Fermata Energy’s software platform provides signals to the V2G Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) and EVs when charging and discharging to provide the greatest value to the grid.

“With this new technology, electric school buses are not only delivering cleaner air to our children and cost savings to our school districts, but also providing extra power to the grid when we need it most,” says Patty Monahan, CEC’s lead commissioner for transportation.

V2X bidirectional school bus technologies can enable school districts to support CEC’s electrification goals while providing revenue or electric bill savings for school bus fleet operators. This CEC grant showcases a large-scale demonstration of how electric school buses can provide value to the grid while parked, serving as a model for schools across the nation.

“BorgWarner is proud to partner with Fermata Energy and Lion Electric on this exciting project, supporting the state of California in electrifying the transportation departments of their school districts while addressing real grid challenges,” says Isabelle McKenzie, vice president of BorgWarner Inc. and president and general manager of Morse Systems. “BorgWarner’s bidirectionally enabled chargers, combined with Fermata’s software and Lion Electric’s energy storage solutions, is a real-world case study in the V2G business case, and we are excited to get started.”

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