Smart Grid (1): Toyota Group develops homes with electric power storage capacities
Toyota connecting vehicles (EV, PHEV), homes and information on an IT system "Toyota Smart Center"
The following is the report on how Japanese OEMs are involved in the smart grid projects with electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
A "smart grid" (next-generation electric power transmission network) is a system to be built on a power transmission network capable of controlling the flow of electricity from both the supplier and demand sides for optimal efficiency. Several demonstration projects of such a system have been conducted in Japan since 2010 by groups that include such OEMs as Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi Motors. Honda has started an independent demonstration project in Japan (Saitama Prefecture) and the state of California in the U.S.
In April 2010, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry chose four areas for the next-generation energy and social system demonstration projects; Yokohama City (with Nissan), Toyota City (with Toyota), Keihanna Gakken Toshi of Kyoto Prefecture (Kyoto, Osaka and Nara Academic City Complex, with Mitsubishi Motors) and Kitakyushu City. Demonstration projects are currently under way also in other areas such as Rokkasho Village in Aomori Prefecture and Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture.
This report, Smart Grid (1), describes the homes with electric storage capacities being developed by Toyota group, the role of an IT system called "Toyota Smart Center" that forms the core of Toyota's smart grid strategy, and homebuilders' supply plans of homes with electric storage capacities (assuming further market penetration of EVs and PHEVs). The upcoming report, Report (2), will cover Nissan's undertaking in the Yokohama Smart City Project, and plans being developed by Nissan and other companies about secondary use of lithium-ion batteries (reuse of the batteries removed permanently from EV or PHEV as household storage batteries, etc.).
Among the automakers reported, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi also plan to study the use of driving batteries for EV and PHEV as household storage batteries through a series of proving tests. Using EV and PHEV batteries as an emergency power source during a power outage is drawing new attention especially after the great earthquake that devastated Eastern Japan.