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Zūm Seeks to Use Electric Buses to Send Power Back to the Grid

Transportation network company Zūm aims to use a fleet of electric school buses to deliver power back to the grid to meet high demand, reported TechCrunch.

The company is partnering up with energy management and distribution software company AutoGrid in an attempt to transform Zūm’s fleet of electric school buses into one of the largest virtual power plants.

Zūm plans to eventually own a fleet of 10,000 electric buses by 2025, supplement a fleet of passenger cars and vans used to transport students to and from school. The company stated that once they hit its 10,000 electric bus goal, it will have the capacity to send one gigawatt of energy back to the grid.

However, with only 10 percent of the company’s buses currently electric, Zūm is currently far short of that goal.

Ritu Narayan, CEO and cofounder of Zūm, referred to school buses as the largest battery on wheels and pointed out how they’re often not utilized during peak times for electricity. That is why the company plans on utilizing buses as electrical sources during non-peak school transportation hours.

The idea of this partnership is to repurpose fleets of school buses in a creative way, since they present an opportunity for energy sharing. As EV ownership increases, companies like Zūm acknowledge the need for a give and take, when it comes to the increasingly strained energy grid, The company said it also wants to help improve the air quality and health of students with the use of these buses.

The partnership is being launched in San Francisco, where Zūm already operates a fleet of 206 buses for local districts.


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