Nuvve Holding Corp. is on a roll as it brings its vehicle-to-grid EV charging technology to the expanding market of electrified commercial fleet vehicles.
Vehicle-to-grid – or V2G – charging stations are bi-directional, allowing EV batteries to both receive energy from and give energy to the power grid.
Last month, Nuvve flipped the switch on Southern California’s first V2G project – 14 charging stations at Cajon Valley Union School District for electrified school busses. The project is in collaboration with the district and SDG&E.
“The program with SDG&E is to protect the system from the high demand we are seeing during the summer,” said Nuvve co-founder and CEO Gregory Poilasne.
Utilizing the batteries from EV school bus fleets to back up the power grid makes sense, Poilasne explained, because they have set schedules and tend to be parked more often.
“When you drive by a school district parking lot, you always see them there. They are more often parked than they are on the road,” he said. “That’s why they represent this very interesting resource. The grid tends to be more strained during the summer which is also when those vehicles are parked.”
The project at Cajon Valley could potentially be adopted beyond school and commercial fleets.
California is home to 1.1 million EVs, the largest concentration of EVs in the nation. And starting in 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state are required to be zero-emissions. Plugging the millions of cars – which on average spend 95% of the time parked – to the grid via V2G could ease the peaks in power usage and add stability to the grid.
“This pilot project is a great example of our region being at the forefront of testing and adopting innovative technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the electric grid,” SDG&E Vice President of Energy Innovation Miguel Romero said. “Electric fleets represent a vast untapped energy storage resource and hold immense potential to benefit our customers and community not just environmentally, but also financially and economically.”
In addition to the Cajon Valley project, Nuvve is currently working on school bus projects in Ramona and San Diego Unified school districts. And early this month the company announced a partnership with Texas power generator and retailer Vistra Energy to begin bringing V2G charging to school districts there.
“In order for this country to achieve its climate goals, it is going to take creative ideas and partnerships, and a collective effort across sectors,” said Scott Hudson, president of Vistra’s retail division. “Our customers know we offer more than just reliable power. We’re all about innovative solutions. We are proud to join Nuvve to help school districts provide safer, cleaner transportation.”
Poilasne said that while most people think of Texas as an oil state, it has actually been “aggressive” in wind and solar generation. Texas’ biggest drawback is its power grid, which Poilasne described as “lacking” and pointed out that on a recent day in this summer, the wind stopped blowing on a cloudy day and the price of electricity in Texas shot up to $5,000 per kWh.
“That’s the volatility we see in their system,” Poilasne said.
The partnership between Nuvve and Vistra will help school districts access available grant funding, from both federal and state agencies. These grants will make the transition cost-effective while also helping districts save on long-term transportation costs. Vistra and Nuvve so far have helped school districts in Texas apply for more than $4.5 million in grant funding to replace older, diesel school buses.
Nuvve set a goal to facilitate 250 EV busses in Texas over the next 18 months, Poilasne said.
In addition to the grant funding, V2G is attractive to school districts because the technology also allows them to put energy back on the grid, providing an additional revenue source.
SDG&E’s Emergency Load Reduction Plan pays business customers $2 per kWh if they are able to export energy to the grid or reduce energy use during grid emergencies. For Cajon Valley, that equates to “up to $7,200 per bus per summer,” Poilasne said.
Electric buses also include fewer parts, leading to lower maintenance costs. The benefits extend to drivers as well, with quiet rides and more responsive performance. Nuvve also offers smart fleet-management tools, helping transportation teams monitor battery levels by scheduling bus operation times and ensuring the bus has enough energy to complete its daily routes.
“The number one priority for the platform is to make sure the vehicle is going to be ready for the driver, when the driver needs it,” Poilasne said.
The secondary priority is to help districts reduce costs and make EV busses more affordable by offering financing services, which include securing money for power the bus batteries return to the grid.
Nuvve is not just looking to cars and trucks to expand V2G. The company announced this month a collaboration with the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), a public maritime college focused on engineering, management, science, and transportation. Nuvve and MMA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a framework of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) clean-energy solutions across a myriad of maritime applications.
MMA will expand its current academic and certification programs to include delivery of workforce training in V2G-related data science, operations, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. This will also include interoperability qualification, which is critical to test and qualify combinations of vehicles/vessels/stationary storage and charging stations with Nuvve’s V2G platform.
“The programs developed through this strategic collaboration will allow Nuvve to dive deeper into the use of maritime V2G, while also developing cybersecurity risk management and AI tools specifically for maritime industry projects and applications,” Poilasne, said. “This ‘vessel-to-grid’ solution can impact a variety of maritime use cases, where ships and other vessels can store and give energy back to grids via ports, islands and waterways.”
Nuvve Holding Corp.
CEO: Gregory Poilasne
Headquarters: San Diego, Liberty Station
Business: Intelligent energy platform combining advanced V2G technology and an ecosystem of electrification partners.
Stock: NVVE (NASDAQ)
Revenue: $3.7 million (first half 2022)
Notable: Nuvve has successfully deployed V2G on five continents.