Author: Future Car Staff
Toyota Motor North America (Toyota) and Texas-based utility company Oncor will collaborate on a pilot project to expand vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging technology. V2G technology allows energy from an electric vehicle’s battery to flow back into the grid when not in use. The project is Toyota’s first collaboration with a public utility company. It will be led by the automaker’s Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions (EVCS) team.
The research will allow Toyota and Oncor to better prepare to support a more comprehensive EV charging ecosystem in the US, as well as help Toyota reach its sustainability goals. The collaboration with Toyota will provide Oncor with additional insight into the infrastructure needed to support the widespread rollout of V2G technology.
“Electrification is coming, and it’s Oncor’s job to build a safer, smarter, more reliable electric grid that can enable the needs of our customers, the state of Texas and the ERCOT market,” said Jim Greer, Oncor executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“This project marks the first collaboration of its kind between Oncor and an OEM manufacturer, and we are excited to work with a world-class technology leader like Toyota on how the electric grid can enable V2G transactions across Oncor’s service territory.”
V2G charging technology Allows EVs to interact with the power grid by automatically throttling the vehicle’s charging rate depending on the current electrical load on the grid to restore power during peak times. For example, when a vehicle is parked, electricity may flow bidirectionally from the electrical distribution network and to the vehicle.
The Texas project will initially use Oncor’s research and testing microgrid at its System Operating Services Facility (SOSF) in South Dallas, which is close to Toyota’s US headquarters.
Oncor’s research microgrid consists of four interconnected microgrids that can be controlled independently, operated in parallel, tandem or combined into a single, larger grid system.
The microgrid and its subsystems include a “V2G” charger, solar panels, and permanent battery storage for testing and evaluation. Toyota and Oncor plan to use an EV with the system to better understand the interconnection between the vehicle and Oncor’s electrical infrastructure.
“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,” said Christopher Young, Toyota Electric. Group Vice President, Vehicle Charging Solutions Team.
Following the initial phase, the project’s second phase, scheduled for 2023, will include a V2G pilot tested with a Toyota EV connected to homes or businesses within Oncor’s service area.
Toyota is not alone in connecting EVs to the grid. In March, Ford Motor Co. partnered with solar company Sunrun to introduce bi-directional power technology for the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup.
Ford’s optional Intelligent Backup Power Home Integration System allows Ford F-150 Lightning owners to use their truck’s substantial battery reserve as an emergency power source for their home. In the event of a power outage, F-150 lightning can help keep critical essentials such as lights, heating and air conditioning systems, and refrigerators operational.
Ford says it will introduce additional F-150 Lightning features in the future to help customers save money and turn off the electric grid during peak usage. For example, Ford Intelligent Power will one day allow customers to power their homes with their truck batteries when electricity rates are high, charging the truck when rates are low.
In May 2021, a 33-month-long project began in Sweden with the participation of Volvo’s electric brand Polestar. The project is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and explores the feasibility of using electric vehicles as a renewable energy source, including homes.
Toyota is still in the early stages of electrifying its model lineup. Over the past several years, the company has focused on hybrid vehicle technology. The company recently unveiled its redesigned Prius, which is the result of that effort. However, Toyota and other automakers must meet the needs of their EV customers, including adequate EV charging infrastructure.
Toyota’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle, the bZ4X SUV, went on sale in the US and Canada this past year. The automaker has also launched an all-electric model called the RZ 450e under its luxury brand Lexus, which goes on sale early next year.