Oakland School District Partners with Zum to Transition to 100% Electric, Bidirectional V2G School Bus Fleet

May 17, 2024
The EV fleet will not only reduce annual emissions by 25,000 tons, but also act as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) by providing 2.1 GWh of energy back to the power grid at scale annually

Zum, a student transportation platform, announced that Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) will transition to a 100% electrified school bus system that utilizes vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. 

To ensure a successful transition, Zum will provide a fleet of 74 electric school buses and bidirectional chargers, which will be managed through the company's AI-enabled technology platform. The EV fleet will not only create a sustainable student transportation system in Oakland and reduce annual emissions by 25,000 tons but also act as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) by providing 2.1 GWh of energy back to the power grid at scale annually. 

"Oakland becoming the first in the nation to have a 100% electric school bus fleet is a huge win for the Oakland community and the nation as a whole," said Kim Raney, Executive Director of Transportation at OUSD. "The families of Oakland are disproportionately disadvantaged and affected by high rates of asthma and exposure to air pollution from diesel fuels. Providing our students with cleaner and quieter transportation on electric school buses will be a game changer, ensuring they have an equitable and stronger chance of success in the classroom."

This project is critical in advancing Zum's goal of electrifying 10,000 bidirectional school buses to supply 300 GWh of energy to power grids annually. Along with OUSD, Zum has already secured additional school bus electrification projects in other districts across California, including San Fransisco Unified and Los Angeles Unified, which are three and six times the size of OUSD's school bus fleet, respectively. 

"We at Zum strongly believe it is time to move beyond pilots and deploy sustainability solutions at scale. Converting the Oakland Unified school bus fleet to 100% electric with VPP capability is the right step in that direction," said Ritu Narayan, Founder and CEO of Zum. "Electric school buses with V2G provide students with cleaner, fume-free transportation and allow us to send untapped energy from the bus batteries back to the grid, creating an enormous impact on grid resilience."

About the Author

Breanna Sandridge, Senior Editor

Breanna Sandridge is senior editor for EnergyTech and Microgrid Knowledge, both part of the energy group at Endeavor Business Media.

Prior to that, Breanna was managing editor for Machinery Lubrication and Reliable Plant magazines, both part of Noria Corp. She has two years experience covering the industrial sector.

She also is a 2021 graduate of Northeastern State University (Oklahoma) with a Bachelor's in English.