In a seemingly reversible shift in mindset, Toyota announced Thursday a new partnership with Oncor Electric Delivery to explore the benefits of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) EV technology for drivers and the grid.
Despite years of lobbying against electric cars, Toyota has apparently changed its stance in the past few months.
With the success of EV leaders like Tesla and BYD achieving record deliveries and demand every quarter, Toyota is mulling an overhaul of its electric vehicle strategy.
In October, a Reuters report suggested that Toyota was considering taking on Tesla’s dominance and developing a new dedicated EV platform.
Toyota’s electric vehicle strategy has so far revolved around its bZ, or “Beyond Zero,” which refers to its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality. The company’s first fully electric car, the bZ4X, was unveiled last year but was quickly withdrawn due to safety concerns.
After showing off its fifth-generation hybrid Prius, Toyota gave us a glimpse of what its second all-electric vehicle might look like with the bZ compact SUV concept. Meanwhile, the Lexus RZ 450e, the brand’s first BEV, is slated to go on sale early next year
Even so, Toyota has struggled to commit to fully electric EVs. New reports suggest that could soon change, with Toyota expected to outline a new EV strategy to its suppliers next year.
Taking it even further, Toyota is announcing a new vehicle-to-grid program, its first utility deal for EV charging technology. Perhaps, the world’s largest automaker is ready to embrace pure EVs.
Toyota is exploring EV technology with new V2G pilot
In a press release Thursday, Toyota Motor North America unveiled a new V2G testing program in partnership with Oncor, the largest transmission and distribution utility company in Texas.
The program will focus on the benefits of V2G technology for both consumers and the energy grid. The ability to send power from the vehicle’s battery and into the grid makes them a powerful backup power option for electric vehicles.
Christopher Young, Group Vice President of Toyota EV Charging Solutions, said:
We envision a future where Toyota BEVs provide a best-in-class mobility experience, but our customers can use them to power their homes, their communities or even the electric grid when needed.
Toyota and Oncor will complete an initial research project on Oncor’s testing microgrid at their System Operating Services Facility (SOSF).
Oncor’s SOSF microgrid consists of four interconnected microgrids that can operate together or independently. Also, it includes solar panels, battery storage and V2G charging technology for testing.
While the article doesn’t specify which EV, Toyota will use “a BEV” to work with V2G technology and utility companies to better understand how EVs can be used to lower energy costs. In the second phase, starting next year, Toyota will test the technology in homes and businesses.
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