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Zum Launches Nation’s First 100% Electrified, Bidirectional V2G School Bus Fleet in Oakland, CA

Zūm is excited to announce today that Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) will be the first major school district in the U.S. to transition to a 100% electrified school bus system with groundbreaking vehicle-to-grid technology.

Zum is providing a fleet of 74 electric school buses and bidirectional chargers in Oakland, managed through its AI-enabled technology platform.The all-EV fleet will not only transport students sustainably, but also play a critical dual role as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP), giving 2.1 gigawatt hours of energy back to the power grid at scale annually. and remove 25,000 tons of greenhouse gasses from the environment.

“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. “This historic milestone is a win-win proposition: 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. Zum is proud to have delivered on this ambitious project a year ahead of schedule.”

The acceleration of the EV transition was the result of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Zum’s utility partner, being able to provide 2.7 megawatts of load to Zum’s Oakland EV-ready facility in record time.

“PG&E is proud to work closely with Zum and Oakland Unified in deploying what is the largest electric school bus fleet and vehicle-based, grid-supporting resource in the country,” said Mike Delaney, Vice President of Utility Partnerships and Innovation, PG&E. “Oakland is PG&E’s headquarters, it is home to many of our customers and co-workers, and a city we’ve proudly served for more than a century. Achieving this advanced fleet electrification and vehicle-grid-integration milestone for the people and students of Oakland reflects our commitment to delivering excellent customer service outcomes for our hometowns using breakthrough thinking, collaboration and swift execution.”

Student transportation is the largest mass transit system in the nation. Today, over 90% of the nation’s 500,000 school buses run on carbon-based fuels, releasing over 8.4 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, exposing students and communities to harmful fumes every day.

“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 Oakland Unified School District. “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.”

Electrification of such a large fleet with V2G capabilities requires a vast ecosystem of partners. Federal and California State programs that have been critical to the acceleration of this project are: the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus program, California Air Resource Board (CARB), Heavy Vehicle Incentive Program (HVIP) vouchers, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and Clean Mobility Operations (CMO) programs.

Zum has set a goal of electrifying 10,000 bidirectional school buses nationwide, which will create the potential to supply 300 gigawatt hours of energy to the power grids annually.

Thanks to our school district partners, families, drivers, and everyone else who is helping us lead the industry in safe, reliable, and sustainable student transportation!