Toyota City, Japan, August 22, 2012—Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), in cooperation with major United States utility company Duke Energy and non-profit industry initiative Energy Systems Network* (ESN), will participate in a joint smart-grid pilot project in Indiana, the United States. The aim of the project will be power-grid load-equalization and the establishment of an optimized vehicle-charging scheme. The project is scheduled to begin in early 2013 and to run for approximately one year.
The project will seek to equalize day-and-night load on the electric power grid through a demand response system, which is based on communication standards developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) that provide a bi-directional digital communication protocol between vehicles and utility companies. Additionally, the project will seek to develop an appropriate scheme to optimally manage charging through a variable toll system. The project will use advanced technologies to give users the ability to automatically realize their own personal charging strategy, such as charging during off-peak periods to minimize electricity costs. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is standardizing these kinds of communication technologies so that automotive manufacturers can use them globally.
Under the project, Toyota will provide five Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicles for regular use by consumer households supplied by Duke Energy in the Indianapolis area. In addition, a charging station and a home gateway communication system will be installed in each household to allow monitoring and optimization of charging. The collected data will be used to evaluate the performance of the communication system between the vehicle and the grid, and also to examine the effectiveness of the charging management system.
Together with TMC, its affiliate companies Toyota InfoTechnology Center, U.S.A., Inc. and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. are also to participate in the project.
As Toyota foresees the use of plug-in electric hybrids and electric vehicles increasing, it aims to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society through initiatives such as the Indiana pilot project.
*A not-for-profit, industry-driven economic initiative focused on the development of the clean technology sector. It provides project development and coordination for joint ventures and cooperative partnerships between network members who are seeking to bring new energy technologies, products or applications to market.