After our Nissan V2H story, Toyota announced theirs. While the company doesn’t offer a full electric car, this particular system will work with the Prius Plug In Hybrid, PHEV coming out soon as well as other EVs. The V2H system will start testing on a Prius PHVs at the end of this year. It will comprise of approximately 10 households and be part of the company’s Toyota City Low-Carbon Verification Project, a project started back in April 2010.
Technically Speaking. The Toyota plug-in hybrid has a smaller battery pack 4.4 kWh than a pure electric car but bigger than the regular Prius. This is enough with an AC100 V inverter onboard to let the Prius PHV flow back its stored electric energy into an AC system for home use. All of this is controlled in a two-way communication system between vehicle, charging station and the home. But the company announces that a fully charged Prius PHEV battery pack and a full tank of gasoline could supply electricity you’re your average Japanese home enough electricity, about 10 kWh for four days. This would roughly mean 2 days here in the US.
The Environmental Aspect. Toyota is eager to not only reassure the Japanese population it can help in case of another utility disaster but that it is also very active on the environmental front. Case in point, The Toyota City Project awards “eco-points” to consumers who show they can change their lifestyles and conserve electricity. The Toyota City Project is also promoting regional energy management as a way to ease peak usage and better manage eventual disruptions. The project does this by synchronizing an automatic control system between a home energy management system, HEMS and regional energy data management systems, EDMS. By incorporating V2H into the picture, the project can make use of household storage batteries.
The Project’s Regional Energy Independence. Regional energy independence is a question of local and national security, something where electric cars can play a crucial role. By containing energy locally, it makes the grid redundant, pushing it closer to a smart grid. It also promotes two simple goals; the charging of a PHV and/or EV battery pack from household electricity and supplying electric power from onboard automobile storage batteries to the home. It also introduces the Next-Generation Energy and Social System Demonstration project, a longer 5 year project from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The idea is to optimize energy on a regional and community level through citizen-led initiatives.
News of the Nissan Leaf V2H charger probably prompted to get Toyota say that it too, is working on a V2H system. Toyota’s V2H project is a little more ambitious and ties into a bigger smart grid structure.