Michigan School Districts Getting Electric Buses as Part of Vehicle-to-Grid Study


Ann Arbor and Roseville public school districts in Michigan have selected Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus, powered by Proterra’s electric vehicle technology, for a five-year pilot program.

The program, supported by Volkswagen settlement funds and conducted in partnership with DTE Energy and Hoekstra Transportation, will also include a vehicle-to-grid study, which will allow DTE to better understand the effects of battery storage technology. In addition to Proterra’s 60 kW charging systems, Ann Arbor Public Schools will receive four Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric buses, and Roseville Community Schools will receive two.

“Safety and reliability are core values of DTE, and the integrated safety of Thomas Built Buses, along with the proven battery and charging technology from Proterra, just made sense for this program,” says Sean Gouda, manager of business development at DTE Energy. “This product will allow us to study specific charging behaviors and vehicle-to-grid capabilities, which are important for utilities to fully understand as we embark on the evolution of electric vehicles powered by smart grids.”

DTE Energy secured $1.5 million in grants to use toward the purchase of the school buses and charging infrastructure. Ann Arbor and Roseville will share their findings from the pilot program with the Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation. Both schools also plan to use the buses as learning laboratories for real-world applications of new innovations, such as the electric technologies the buses employ, as part of their focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

Equipped with the same quality, durability, performance, safety and comfort as the Saf-T-Liner C2, Jouley offers quiet operation and zero emissions, says Thomas Built Buses. Jouley, which has 220 kWh of total energy capacity, can charge in about three hours with the Proterra DC charging system and has an operating range of up to 120 miles.

“This is a progressive step for our schools and aligns nicely with our existing sustainability goals in the Ann Arbor community,” notes Marios Demetriou, assistant superintendent at Ann Arbor Public Schools. “We are thrilled to lead Michigan in the deployment of the latest transit technology for schools.”

“We look forward to deploying these electric buses in our district,” adds John Kment, superintendent of Roseville Community Schools. “Not only will they help us reduce our carbon footprint, they will also serve as great educational opportunities for our students. Our educators will use them to lead discussions on how all of us can take steps to integrate cleaner energy into our daily lives.”

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