Toyota and Pepco collaborate to research vehicle-to-grid technology

Photography provided by Toyota Newsroom
Local energy utility Pepco and Toyota Motor North America to research vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Energy utility Pepco and Plano-based Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) are teaming up to research vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) using a Toyota bZ4X. Bidirectional power flow gives BEV owners the ability to charge their car’s battery and send power to the local energy grid.

V2G could benefit consumers through improved energy security and resilience, possible reduced electricity costs and the incorporation of renewables, Pepco and TMNA said in a news release.

This team seeks to discover what EV owners need through their vehicle and charging use. With bidirectional power flow, EVs would give power to the local energy grid at peak hours of energy demand, or in critical conditions involving damaging weather. Currently, 80 percent of EV owners charge their vehicles at home overnight during low energy demand hours, the news release said.

Bidirectional charging is a great way for customers to leverage their electric vehicles in a way that supports the grids and their home electricity ecosystem,” said Christopher Yang, group vice president of Toyota EV Charging Solutions. “Working with Pepco will help us understand charging and discharging use-cases, which will ultimately benefit our customers and help utility providers better understand grid demands.”

Maryland is a rapidly growing EV market and aims to have 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025. In April, Maryland became the first state to pass V2G legislation with HB 1256 – the Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE) Act. The act makes utilities grow interconnection processes for bidirectional chargers. Pepco is assisting Maryland in its goals by installing 250 EV chargers around Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

“Pepco is leading the energy transformation in the communities we serve by embracing technology that is helping to drive the clean energy transition,” said Tyler Anthony, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings. “V2G is designed to connect with the local energy grid and is part of our roadmap to ensure a successful and equitable energy transition. This collaboration with Toyota allows us to better understand V2G technology and its impact on the grid, our customers, and overall service reliability as we work together toward a more sustainable and resilient future for the communities we serve.”

Research will begin at Pepco’s Watershed Sustainability Center at Rockville Service Center in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Though not in Texas, Toyota has participated in partnerships like this before. In December of 2022, Toyota collaborated with Texas-based Oncor to research V2G technology and improve support for the EV charging environment in the U.S. The project took a look at the interconnectivity between Toyota BEVs and utilities — and how to provide the grid infrastructure needed to allow the fast growth of EVs.

“BEV owners could push some of the energy stored in their vehicles’ batteries back onto the grid to support it when it’s stressed. That would be a win for the customer, giving them a way to sell their power back to the grid,” said Max Parness, senior manager of grid services at TMNA, in a news release last year “It would be a win for the utility to better manage surges in demand, such as during heat waves. And it would be a win for Toyota by creating a new revenue stream by facilitating this connection.”

Though Parness says its too early to say when these projects will be operational, the second phase of the project testing the connection of BEVs parked at a home or business in the Oncor service area started late last year.

Headquartered in Plano, Toyota offers two mass-market BEVs in the U.S. and Canada – the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ. The company announced plans to assemble two new BEV SUVs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. Toyota aims to provide 30 BEV models globally and produce up to 3.5 million BEVs a year by 2030.

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