Prince Edward Island will be the first Canadian province to use the vehicle-to-grid technology onboard Lion Electric school buses to respond to disaster-related power outages
School buses in Prince Edward Island have an additional use beyond transporting students.
The government of P.E.I. is collaborating with Lion Electric on a pilot project to use the province’s 82 LionC electric school buses to provide electricity to emergency community disaster relief centres in the event of a power outage.
This is possible through the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology onboard the LionC buses, which can deliver energy from the vehicles’ batteries back to the grid.
In this pilot, the batteries of the LionC electric school buses will supply power to the Lions Club in North Rustico, a town located near the north shore of Queens County, during extreme weather events.
“Electrification of transportation is more than transporting goods and people. In this case, LionC school buses will be used as energy storage for the benefit of the population. It feels good knowing Lion vehicles could play an important role in the community,” said Benoit Morin, Canadian vice-president of bus sales at Lion Electric, in a press note.
The LionC electric school buses will store renewable energy from P.E.I.’s wind and solar generation resources during periods of low demand, like overnight.
“Thanks to Lion, we have taken a big step in our government’s commitment to building a generation power network that will ensure essential services can continue during power outages,” said P.E.I.’s environment, energy, and climate action minister, Steven Myers, in a press release.
Pilot tests at the North Rustico Lions Club
According to the government of P.E.I. and Lion Electric, this is the first project in Canada to test electric school buses as mobile emergency batteries during power outages
The idea for the pilot is due to the power outages caused by Hurricane Fiona last October. The storm knocked out power for roughly 94 per cent of households in the province, according to P.E.I.’s utility provider, Maritime Electric.
At the time, diesel-run generators powered “warming centres” across the island where residents could go for meals, water and charge their personal devices.
“As we expect more frequent and increasingly intense hurricanes in the future, we are looking forward to the ease of use the buses will provide while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Andrea Greenan, deputy mayor of North Rustico.
Testing shows that a pair of LionC electric school buses can provide up to three days of power for the North Rustico Lions Club during emergencies.
“This community centre, along with countless others, was there for Islanders during the toughest times, and now North Rustico Lions Club can do even more in an emergency using this first-in-Canada technology,” said Myers.
The goal is to expand the project to other communities across the province.
By the end of May, the province will have a total of 82 LionC electric school buses, and 125 more electric school buses will be added to the fleet over the next five years.
The province’s commitment is to replace its full fleet of 322 school buses with electric buses by 2030.
This pilot project is another step for P.E.I., which is aiming to be net zero by 2040. Sustainable transportation, including the electrification of cars and buses, is a key pillar in the province’s net-zero targets.