US. California Energy Commission Awards a $3 Million Grant to BorgWarner, Fermata Energy and Lion Electric for Innovative Vehicle-to-Grid Project with Bus Operator American Transportation to Service Student Transportation for California School Districts

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) and project partners Fermata Energy and The Lion Electric Company (NYSE: LEV) (TSX: LEV) (“Lion Electric”) a $3 million grant for an innovative Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project. This initiative is set to bring grid-supporting and cost-saving V2G solutions for services provided by American Transportation to California school districts, marking a significant step forward in energy management and the transition to electric school buses.

“With this new technology, electric school buses are not only delivering cleaner air to our children and cost savings to our school districts, but also providing extra power to the grid when we need it most”

California has seen an increase in extreme weather events driven by climate change, including prolonged heat waves, droughts, and wildfires, leading to increased strain on the grid. With more electric vehicles (EVs) coming to market, V2G has the potential to play a part in the state’s clean energy future by using excess power from solar and wind farms to charge during the day for use in the evening when demand is high.

By working with BorgWarner, Fermata Energy and Lion Electric, the CEC will support the strengthening and decarbonization of California’s grid while pairing a fleet of electric school buses with AI-powered V2G technology. This project will ultimately enable electric school bus batteries to support the grid with additional power during emergency events when parked and to generate revenue through participation in demand response programs and other value streams to lower the vehicles’ Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

According to the CEC’s grant-funded opportunity Electric School Bus Bi-Directional Infrastructure (GFO 22-612), electric school buses with bidirectional charging capabilities can help offset the impacts and challenges of grid reliability and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. Some California school districts already have electric school buses that are ready to take advantage of Vehicle-to-Grid integration (VGI) benefits, with many more electric school buses expected to be ordered throughout the state in the near future.

The grant, funded through the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, will include the installation of 21 BorgWarner 125 kW UL-listed, combined charging system (CCS) protocol bidirectionally-enabled chargers, paired with a minimum of 20 LionD all-electric school buses. Fermata Energy’s Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) software platform will optimize and manage the charging and discharging of the buses to maximize grid benefits and V2X revenue for the school districts.

The deployment of V2G technology for the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), in addition to American Transportation, the school bus fleet operator servicing these students, will support grid reliability and mitigate the impact of PSPS events and extreme weather events. It also will demonstrate the health benefits of zero-emission transportation solutions for communities leveraging V2G technology while generating revenue when selling power back to the grid.

“This CEC grant and project underscores the power of partnerships and our collective dedication to sustainability as we deploy this cutting-edge V2G bidirectional hardware and software solution,” said Tony Posawatz, CEO of Fermata Energy. “Together, we are advancing electric vehicle integration and grid support in California schools while enabling a viable path toward renewable energy for future generations.”

“American Transportation strives to be at the forefront of technology and innovation in an industry that often struggles to break free from its antiquated means of operation. With the assistance of the CEC grant and the company’s strong partnerships formed with BorgWarner, Fermata Energy, and Lion Electric, we are able to provide a glimpse into the future of safe, clean, and environmentally sustainable student transportation. This is an exciting time to witness a pivotal change in the industry and we are extremely grateful to play a role in that advancement,” commented Dan Wilson, CEO of American Transportation.

Fermata Energy’s AI-driven V2X software platform analyzes thousands of rapidly changing data points to manage and optimize EV charging and discharging. It makes it simple for EV owners and operators to participate in revenue- or savings-generating grid programs. Fermata Energy’s software platform provides signals to the V2G Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) and EVs when charging and discharging to provide the greatest value to the grid. The V2G software company has a history of successful projects throughout the United States.

“With this new technology, electric school buses are not only delivering cleaner air to our children and cost savings to our school districts, but also providing extra power to the grid when we need it most,” said Patty Monahan, California Energy Commission’s Lead Commissioner for Transportation.

V2X bidirectional school bus technologies can enable school districts to support CEC’s electrification goals while providing revenue or electric bill savings for school bus fleet operators. This CEC grant showcases a large-scale demonstration of how electric school buses can provide value to the grid while parked, serving as a model for schools across the nation.

“BorgWarner is proud to partner with Fermata Energy and Lion Electric on this exciting project, supporting the State of California in electrifying the transportation departments of their school districts while addressing real grid challenges,” said Isabelle McKenzie, Vice President of BorgWarner Inc. and President and GM, Morse Systems. BorgWarner’s bidirectionally-enabled chargers, combined with Fermata’s software and Lion Electric’s energy storage solutions, is a real-world case study in the V2G business case and we are excited to get started.”

“The investment from the CEC for V2G-dedicated projects is a testament to the significance of this emerging technology and how collaborating with Fermata Energy and BorgWarner is helping address the demands of electrification,” said Nate Baguio, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at Lion Electric. “We have been at the forefront of shaping the V2G business case for several years in California and the United States, and these partnerships are vital for the future of clean energy transportation.”

While California leads the nation in electric school bus adoption, few California school districts with electric bus fleets are currently using bidirectional charging systems for mobility and energy services. By partnering with BorgWarner, Fermata Energy, and Lion Electric, the state will begin to deploy bidirectional charging technology to support grid reliability, mitigate the impacts of PSPS events and wildfires, and provide additional energy resources during periods of high electricity demand on the grid or at the customer site.

“The Conejo Valley Unified School District is proud to partner with American Transportation as an early adopter of electric buses, which will soon join the fleet of vehicles the CVUSD uses to transport our scholars to school and to extracurricular activities,” said Dr. Victor Hayek, Conejo Valley Unified School District’s Deputy Superintendent. “This new sustainable technology will support this endeavor, with positive infrastructure and environmental impacts for our community – a big win-win.”

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