BV Schools & SDCEA Partner to Add Electric Bus to Fleet at No Cost to District

The Buena Vista School District (BV Schools) will add an electric school bus to its daily route schedule in 2022 at no cost to the school district. Acquisition of the bus is thanks to a successful grant application by the district and a significant financial contribution as well as technical support from Sangre de Cristo Electric Association (SDCEA).

The grant of nearly $353,000 to purchase the school bus and charging station, funded through the Regional Air Quality Council’s (RAQC) Alt Fuels Colorado program, aims to improve Colorado’s air quality by incentivizing replacement of pre-2009 diesel vehicles with fully electric and renewable natural gas (RNG) fleet vehicles. Funding for the Alt Fuels Colorado Program comes in part from the state of Colorado’s settlement with car manufacturer Volkswagen Group of America regarding diesel emissions. SDCEA will contribute $100,000 to cover the remaining costs of the bus, charging station, and electrical infrastructure to provide power to the bus.

“This partnership with SDCEA is a tremendous way to help modernize the district’s bus fleet. The bus will also promote education about emerging technologies and bring environmental and health benefits to students, as well as to our community,” BV Schools Superintendent Lisa Yates said.

The bus will be the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) installation in SDCEA’s service territory. An electric vehicle V2G installation allows for energy to flow either to the vehicle being charged, or back to the grid during periods when the vehicle is not being driven. Under the BV Schools bus V2G scenario, the bus can be charged during hours that are less expensive for SDCEA to purchase wholesale power, primarily during daylight hours when less-expensive renewable power is generated, and late at night when demand for electricity is low. SDCEA can then discharge power from the bus battery, when not needed, back to the grid to offset consumer power use during high-demand, more expensive wholesale power cost periods, primarily from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. each day.

The school district may be able to take advantage of a more favorable electric rate to recharge the bus during the off-peak hours, which results in a monthly electricity cost comparable to diesel fuel.

“The bus brings an important opportunity to learn not only about the performance of an electric bus in our mountain valley, but also a chance to learn if this technology could help SDCEA going forward in leveraging large-scale batteries for power management in the future,” SDCEA CEO Paul Erickson said. “We look forward to our ongoing partnership with the district on this project.”