DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company, has partnered with Ann Arbor and Roseville schools to deploy six zero-emission electric school buses.
As COVID-19 has delayed in-person learning for some schools, the new electric buses will be used to deliver meals to school children through federal food assistance programs in addition to student transportation.
DTE Energy, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Roseville Community Schools, Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT), Thomas Built Buses, Proterra and Hoekstra Transportation partnered on the deployment. Funding for the buses was received from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in collaboration with MAPT and the Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.
“We are thrilled to help deploy these electric buses as another proof point of our clean energy plan at DTE,” says Trevor Lauer, president and COO of DTE Electric. “From renewable energy deployment to our Charging Forward program offering incentives on electric vehicle chargers, our goal is to continue to combat climate change. We appreciate the Ann Arbor and Roseville school districts as well as our state and business partners for working with us to further these goals.”
The new Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school buses are estimated to provide more than 40% in savings over time on fuel and maintenance compared to traditional buses. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S. by Thomas Built Buses, the vehicles use battery and drivetrain technology from Proterra, a company that specializes in heavy-duty electric transportation. Based on Proterra’s battery technology platform, the bus couples 220 kWh of total energy capacity with a Proterra drivetrain to offer the energy efficiency and range to meet the needs of school bus fleets.
Both schools will also receive Proterra DC fast chargers, which can charge the electric school buses in about three hours. During the five-year pilot of these vehicles, Hoekstra Transportation, a local dealer based in Troy, Mich., will provide the school districts with additional training and support.
DTE will also initiate a vehicle to grid (V2G) study in tandem with the program. The V2G study will provide valuable learnings on the effects of energy efficiency and the capabilities of the bus that are mutually beneficial for the school and the environment – such as the ability for the bus battery to provide energy to the school during a power outage. In addition, the results of the study will be used to develop programs that further benefit the schools based on the EV bus capabilities.