Toyota announces collaboration with Oncor to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) charging ecosystem

Toyota Motor North America and Oncor Electric Delivery, a Texas-based electric transmission and distribution company, have agreed to collaborate on a pilot project around vehicle-to-grid (V2G). This is a technology that allows vehicles to flow energy from their battery back onto the electric grid. 

The effort will be led by Toyota’s Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions (EVCS) team, marking an important first collaboration with a public utility for Toyota in the US around electric vehicles (EVs).

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The results from the research will allow Toyota and Oncor to be better prepared to support the broader EV charging ecosystem in the United States. These efforts will also allow Toyota to elevate the customer experience for Toyota EV customers, accelerate efforts in carbon neutrality and provide advances in business opportunities.

Christopher Yang, Toyota Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions team group vice president, said: “We envision a future where Toyota EVs provide a best-in-class mobility experience but also can be utilised by our customers to power their homes, their communities or even power back the electric grid in times of need.” 

“Our collaboration with Oncor is an important step for us to understand the needs of utilities, as we plan to work closely with them to ensure every community can embrace Toyota’s shift to electrified vehicles.” 

Jim Greer, Oncor COO and executive vice president, said: “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. 

“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 to better understand how the electric grid can enable V2G transactions across the Oncor service territory.

“We appreciate Toyota’s collaboration in pursuing innovative energy solutions through this endeavour and we look forward to someday implementing the lessons learned from this pilot project to benefit the many communities we serve.”

Initially, the two companies agreed to a research project that will use Oncor’s research and testing microgrid at its System Operating Services Facility (SOSF) in south Dallas. This is located just south of Toyota’s nearby national headquarters. 

The SOSF microgrid is composed of four interconnected microgrids that can be controlled independently but also operated in parallel, tandem or combined into a single, larger system. 

The microgrid and its subsystems also include a V2G charger, solar panels and battery storage for testing and evaluation. Toyota and Oncor plan to use a BEV along with the system to better understand the interconnectivity between BEVs and utilities.

Beyond this initial phase, a second phase of the project slated for 2023 will include a V2G pilot where testing will be conducted with BEVs connected at homes or businesses within Oncor’s service territory, under all standard interconnection processes and agreements.

The collaboration will help provide both Oncor and Toyota an insight into the current and future needs of their customers. Furthermore, it will provide Oncor with additional insight into the infrastructure needed to enable the rapid growth of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Plus, meet their needs and support electric vehicles and better understand the impact of V2G on the electric grid.

Toyota’s first mass-market BEV, the bZ4X, went on sale this past year in the US and Canada. The first Lexus BEV, the RZ, is scheduled to go on sale in early 2023.

Back in September, Toyota announced it will invest up to £4.9 billion for battery production in Japan and the US to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. In the United States, approximately 325 billion yen (£2.16 billion/ $2.5 billion) will be newly invested in Toyota’s battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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