On January 26, 2021, First Student, Inc. and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC announced they have entered into a framework agreement and are working toward a joint venture to pursue the electrification of thousands of school transportation vehicles across the U.S. and Canada.
The transition to electric vehicles for the school and public transportation sector is expected to play a critical role in helping communities improve air quality and environmental health for student passengers, transit riders and area residents. In addition, utilizing the sizeable batteries of school and public transportation electric vehicle fleets for distributed energy storage and grid services has the potential to make a significant contribution to long-term sustainable clean energy transition in North America.
At First Student, we long have been an industry leader when it comes to developing and implementing innovations in transportation. We’re excited to collaborate with NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc., the world’s largest utility company based on market capitalization. NextEra has operations in 30 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces with capabilities throughout North America. It’s the top-ranked electric and gas utilities company on Fortune’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies.”
The transition to electric vehicles (EV) in [student/public] transportation is expected to play a critical role in helping communities improve air quality and environmental health for passengers and the community. Drawing on each company’s complementary expertise, we aim to foster innovation and accelerate the mass adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Through this collaboration, we expect to better assist customers in modernizing their fleets, reducing emissions, and ensuring communities have cleaner transportation options. We expect this will expedite and enhance our ability to help customers remove barriers and navigate the complicated electrification process. This collaboration also gives us a head start on the emerging vehicle-to-grid (“V2G”) technology. V2G allows electric vehicles to store excess power and deliver it back to the local power grid, rather than only draw a charge from it. Leveraging distributed energy storage and has the potential to make a significant contribution to long-term sustainable clean energy transition in North America.
EV technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Several factors are driving expansion: Increasing demand from customers and communities, the strategic location of bus depots for infrastructure installation, and predictable daily usage of school buses. We want to be the partner of choice for our customers, passengers and communities for low- and zero-emission transportation. We’ve put this goal into action as First Student has conducted multiple pilots with a number of partner school districts. For more information, visit the Sustainability section of this First Student annual report: First Student Annual Report.
This is a long-term, large-scale project, so much is unknown. With that said, we welcome further discussions to see if electric vehicles are a viable option for a customer.
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