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.

Toyota's Smart Grid Strategy

Toyota: IT system called "Toyota Smart Center" developed

 In October 2010, Toyota announced the company had developed the Toyota Smart Center, Toyota's unique IT system that enables integrated control of consumption of electric power supplied by homes, automobiles and electric power companies, as a part of its smart grid initiatives. The system is aimed at efficient use of electricity in a broader range of locations including homes equipped with HEMS (Home Energy Management System) and EVs and PHEVs.

 Services based on this system will be available on certain EV and PHEV reaching the market in early 2012, and on certain homes built by Toyota Home.

 According to Toyota, the Smart Center forms the core of Toyota's smart grid strategy and as such, it will further increase Toyota's strength as a manufacturer of both automobiles and homes, and help Toyota propose optimal use of energy.

Toyota: "Toyota Smart Center" system developed to optimize energy consumption in homes and automobiles

 The system uses plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV) that are bound for popular use in the market, and advanced "smart houses" equipped with HEMS (Home Energy Management System) that manages energy use in the house, to manage and coordinate demand and supply of energy used by such vehicles and homes and energy supplied by electric companies and electricity supplied by private power generators such as solar panels.
 More concretely, the system monitors the battery charge levels sent from EV and PHEV (via existing telematics), power consumption in homes and other information sent by HEMS, and data on weather forecasts and hourly-based electric power billing by power companies. Then, the system analyzes the received information and adjusts vehicle charging and power consumption in homes accordingly so as to minimize CO2 emissions and power billing for individual homes.
 The Toyota Smart Center service is supplied in experimental operation with two Toyota homes and eight PHEVs in the Rokkasho Village smart grid demonstration project in Aomori Prefecture. Provision of similar services is planned on EV/PHEV and certain Toyota homes slated for market launch in early 2012.

Source: Toyota press release 2010.10.5


"Smart community service" links automobiles, homes and information

 In March 2011, Toyota announced it has defined "smart community service" that links automobiles, homes and information as a new added value on automobiles and that the company plans to promote global deployment of "Toyota Smart Center" that offers integrated control of such services. Toyota expects steady market penetration of the smart center especially after the EV and PHEV launch in 2012.

 As part of such initiatives, Toyota announced in April 2011 that Toyota and Microsoft will jointly construct a next-generation telematics service based on Microsoft's global cloud platform and that Toyota plans to promote global deployment of the smart center using Microsoft's cloud platform as well.


Toyota: Appeals value of automobiles as "Power generator"

Toyota's "Smart Community Service" (briefing on Toyota Global Vision on March 9, 2011)

Toyota: Global deployment of "Toyota Smart Centers" with Microsoft

 In April 2011, a basic agreement was reached between Toyota and Microsoft regarding a strategic partnership toward the construction of a global cloud platform for Toyota's next-generation telematics services based on Microsoft's "Windows Azure" cloud platform. As part of the agreement, Toyota and Microsoft will invest a total of one billion yen in Toyota Media Service Company, Toyota's wholly-owned subsidiary specializing in IT business (currently capitalized at 150.5 million yen). The exact amounts to be borne by the companies are yet to be determined.
 More concretely, telematics services developed on the basis of Windows Azure will be adopted in Toyota's EV and PHEV to be released for marketing in 2012. Furthermore, the two companies will make joint efforts to construct an all-new global cloud platform by 2015.
 In a more futuristic perspective, Toyota and Microsoft plan a global deployment of the Toyota Smart Center using the new global cloud platform.
Source: Toyota press release 2011.4.7, Nikkan Jidosha Newspaper 2011.4.8
(Notes) 1. "Cloud" is a common shorthand for "cloud computing" and refers to the way computers are used over the Internet. In the traditional style of use, both hardware and software are contained in and managed by the user's computer while, in cloud computing, the user receives service via the Internet and pays fees for using the service.
2-1. In October 2010, Sekisui Chemical Company and NEC Corporation announced they were to develop and market a cloud-based HEMS.
2-2. This system will use computers in private homes to integrally manage the energy demand and supply in solar-powered and completely electrified households. The simple system, with a planned affordable price of no higher than 100,000 yen, comprises an electric power meter and information collecting device. The system will be used as part of support for the Sekisui Heim owners (those living in Sekisui's environmentally-friendly homes).


Toyota: Merging all homebuilding activities under Toyota Home and developing homes with power storage capacities

 On October 1, 2010, Toyota transferred the homebuilding and certain other departments in the housing division of Toyota Motor to Toyota Home, and centralized all its homebuilding business activities under Toyota Home. In addition, Toyota Home acquired 27.8% share in Misawa Homes Company as of October 1, 2010.

Toyota: Centralizing homebuilding business activities under Toyota Home and strengthening partnership with Misawa Homes

 Toyota transferred the homebuilding business divisions (planning, engineering, production etc.) to Toyota Home Company as of October 1, 2010, and merged all its homebuilding operations under Toyota Home that used to specialize in sales and product planning. By adding manufacturing function, Toyota expects faster decision making and more agile business handling in the group company.
 On the same day nine companies in the Toyota group (Denso, Aisin Seiki, Toyota Industries etc.) invested in Toyota Home, acquiring a total share of 12.2% (Toyota holding the remaining 87.8%) in support of the homebuilding company to strengthen the group's housing business.
 Toyota Home transferred a 14.4% share of Misawa Homes from NPF-MG in April 2010, and another 13.4% share from Toyota in October, resulting in a 27.8% share in Misawa Homes.

Source: Toyota press release 2009.10.23/2010.4.29, Toyota Home press release 2010.9.14


 Toyota is set to combine the expertise of Toyota Home, the nine group companies that invested in Toyota Home, and Misawa Homes toward the commercialization of homes equipped with solar and other natural energies, storage systems and Toyota smart center. In April 2009 Toyota and Toyota Home announced that they would jointly develop HEMS having storage capacities and that the system would be available for commercial application in 2011.

Toyota: Making group's collective efforts to develop homes with natural energies, storage capacities and HEMS

Working with
Toyota Home
 In April 2009, Toyota and Toyota Home announced that they would jointly develop HEMS (Home Energy Management System) having electric storage capacities and that the system was to be put to commercial application in "Toyota homes" in 2011.
 The development project is led by Toyota. Toyota Home will be responsible for product planning while Denso will develop the system hardware that comprises the storage battery and power converter and controller. Misawa Homes will be responsible for display and control boards.
 Toyota has completed the preliminary prototype of the storage battery that uses lithium-ion batteries and is capable of storing up to 5kWh of electric power. Toyota aspires to realize "zero CO2 emission from homes or cars" by means of the system that eventually will integrate solar generation and PHEV and EV (see Notes 1-3). Toyota plans to reach a commercialization stage in 2011 and start trial marketing accordingly with the estimated product price of around half a million yen.
Working with
group companies
 The nine Toyota group companies that invested in Toyota Home will leverage their specialized technologies such as Denso's air-conditioning equipment (years of technical expertise with EcoCute, see Note 4) and Toyoda Gosei's LED and other automotive components to build a system that will suppress overall energy consumption in homes and manage the amount of such consumption.
Source: Toyota & Toyota Home joint press release 2009.4.14
(Notes) 1.  It is said 5kWh corresponds to the average amount of electric power used in ordinary homes in Japan from 9 to 5. The Toyota homes in the demonstration project that started in September 2010 in Rokkasho Village use batteries of the same capacity. For comparison sake, the Prius PHEV released for lease to fleet users in December 2009 uses a 5.2kWh battery for driving.
2. The Nissan Leaf uses a 24kWh driving battery and the EV SIM-LET announced by SIM-DRIVE in March 2011 uses a 24.9kWh driving battery. It is said both vehicles can store in their batteries enough electricity for approximately two days' use in an ordinary household. This means the batteries in existing EV and PHEV may be used as an alternate power source during the three-hour rolling power outages enforced in Japan in March 2011.
3. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf in the market today are not built to discharge their driving batteries for purposes other than EV driving and, therefore, must be redesigned. They face additional challenges. For example, the engineers have yet to determine the impact on the battery's durability and if it is ready for use for EV or PHEV once the battery is used for charging in the house.
4. The EcoCute is a hot water supply system based on the heat pump technology used in air conditioning. Compared to electric or gas-burning hot water supply systems, the EcoCute may be more expensive to buy but is more energy efficient and inexpensive to run.
Misawa Homes: Developing energy-saving homes with storage batteries and EV chargers
Misawa Homes  In 1998, Misawa Homes developed "Zero Energy Home HYBRID-Z" the world's first system that has equalized annual energy consumption and generation. In March 2008, the company built a "next-generation zero-energy home" construction project in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido, and later in Kameyama City, Mie Prefecture.
 The cumulative outcome of those technologies was put into completing the "eco-flagship model" in November 2010 that was built upon the cutting-edge environmental technologies and folklore found in traditional Japanese houses. Among the advanced technologies are the cascaded solar system (sunlight + solar heat), basic and additional heat-insulating systems, heat-insulating glass and other energy-saving technologies.
 Furthermore, Misawa Homes is working with Toyota group and Toyota Home in the development and early commercialization of (1) HEMS (Home Energy Management System) with electric storage capacity that optimizes energy use in the house, and (2) next-generation charging stations for PHEV and EV.

Source: Misawa press release 2008.3.17/2010.11.10, Nikkei Sangyo Newspaper 2010.11.25
(Note) In June 2010, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced visions to realize ZEB (net zero energy building, with net zero energy consumption through the year), and ZEH (houses with net zero energy consumption) for the average of newly constructed buildings and houses by 2030. It is said Toyota group and other homebuilding companies are well aware of those visions.


Toyota: Participating in demonstration projects in Toyota City and Rokkasho Village (Aomori Pref.)

 In April 2010, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry chose four areas for next-generation energy and social system demonstration; Yokohama City, Toyota City, Keihanna Gakken Toshi of Kyoto Prefecture and Kitakyushu City. A total of twenty cities had indicated interest in hosting the demonstration project. The four areas are making master plans according to their proposals that were presented to the Ministry.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry: Four areas chosen to pursue next-generation energy and social system demonstration

Areas  Yokohama, Toyota, Kyoto (Keihanna Gakken Toshi) and Kitakyushu
Purpose  Positioned as initiatives to construct Japanese style smart grids and their implementation in Japan and overseas as well
Goals  Significant energy saving, CO2 reduction, introduction of large-scale renewable energies, efficient use of energy in transport systems including next-generation automobiles and trains etc.
 Local governments, energy-related enterprises, systems and other manufacturers, and a limited number of users (private homes, buildings, commercial facilities, etc.) are invited.
Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry press release 2010.4.8
(Notes) 1.  The demonstration project connects 5,000 households in total in the four chosen areas by smart grid (next-generation power transmission network). The five-year project will cost approximately 100 billion yen and is being conducted by three cities (Yokohama, Toyota and Kitakyushu) and a prefecture (Kyoto). The project details in Yokohama will be presented in Report 2.
2. The project in Kyoto is being carried out jointly with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Omron, and other companies. Mitsubishi Motors will also participate in the project to demonstrate the "V2H, Vehicle to Home" concept representing coordination between charging EV from household electricity and supplying electricity from EV to the house.
3. The project in Kitakyushu is being carried out jointly with the local municipal government of Kitakyushu, Nippon Steel Corporation, Toshiba etc., and includes the "V2H" introductory experiment and studies "application of recycled batteries from EVs as well as its verification" with Nissan.


Low-carbon social system demonstrated in Toyota City

 In April 2010, after the City of Toyota was chosen one of the four next-generation energy and social system demonstration areas, the City of Toyota, Toyota and 19 other companies took on initiatives of the demonstration project. The project is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 20% on average in homes in the project area (over 70% in HEMS-equipped smart houses) and 40% in the transportation segment.

 The project will also verify if the batteries aboard the EV and PHEV can be used to supply electricity to homes, or to charge commercial and public facilities after disasters.

Toyota and City of Toyota: Low-carbon social system demonstration project

Objective  Rebuilding the City of Toyota by realizing a low-carbon local society and, in a more long-range perspective, constructing systems applicable to other cities in Japan and overseas as well. The project will cost approximately 11.3 billion yen in five years starting in FY2010.
Participants  City of Toyota, Toyota, Chubu Electric Power Company, and Dream Incubator (four key members) and a total of 16 private companies
Basic policies 1. Reduction of CO2 from home sectors (homes + vehicles)
2. Suppression of social costs including effective use of automotive storage battery
3. Aspiration of an international standard as a system of global contribution
(1) Effective use of energy at home:
* A large-scale introduction of a combination of energy-saving and energy-creating equipment (solar cells, fuel cells etc.) and energy-storing equipment (EcoCute, next-generation vehicles etc.)
* Verification of the possibility of using electricity from batteries on EV/PHEV for home use (V2H)
* Introduction of HEMS (assuming 70 HEMS-homes and 75 next-generation vehicles in five years)
(2) Effective use of energy in the community
* Networking of HEMS and renewable energy usages
* Verification of supplying electricity from automotive batteries to convenience stores and other commercial and public facilities in the event of a disaster
* Promotion of stationary electric storage equipment in commercial facilities etc.
(3) Construction of low-carbon transportation systems
* Experimental introduction of FC buses on trunk roads and introduction of EV/PHEV buses
(4) Support in citizens' behaviors that will cause a change in their lifestyles
(5) Feasibilities of global development

Source: The Toyota City Low-Carbon Society Verification Promotion Council (2010.4.8/2010.8.5)
(Note) The City of Toyota has a population of 423,016 as of January 1, 2011.


Toyota: Taking part in "Rokkasho Village Smart Grid Demonstration Project" in Aomori Prefecture

 In September 2010, Toyota, Japan Wind Development Co. (JWD), Panasonic Electric Works and Hitachi (four key companies) started a smart grid demonstration project in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture, jointly with other companies.

 The project uses the world's first large-scale wind power stations with storage batteries that are already in operation, to construct a closed grid that supplies electricity generated by wind and solar energies, independent from the transmission lines of the local electric power company.

 Toyota is operating the "Toyota Smart Center" on an experimental basis with eight Prius PHEV and two HEMS-based Toyota homes that the company has provided for the project and seeking further evolution of the system through the demonstration project in Rokkasho Village.

Toyota: Taking part in "Rokkasho Village Smart Grid Demonstration Project" in Aomori Prefecture

 The project uses wind power stations with storage capacities, the largest in Japan in scale, which has been in operation since 2003, to construct a Japan-first closed grid that supplies electricity generated by wind and solar energies, independent from the transmission lines of the local electric power company to demonstrate efficient use of energies.
Participants <Key member companies> Toyota, Hitachi, Japan Wind Development (JWD), Panasonic Electric Works (PEW)
<Cooperating companies> Denso, Toyota Home, Sekisui House, etc.
<Local government> Rokkasho Village of Aomori Prefecture
Period  September 2010 - July 2012 (planned)
Main facilities * Futamata Wind Power Station in Rokkasho Village (built in 2003-2004)
* 100kW-class NAS storage battery (JWD): Installed in 2007 as a hub-storage battery to control the overall demand for electricity within the grid. When the amount of natural energy generation is high, the excess electricity is stored in the hub battery for later use when the electric supply is low.
* Control center (by JWD and Hitachi)
* Private distribution line (8km dedicated power cables and communications optical fiber cables newly laid out by JWD between the wind power stations and Obuchi Lake Town North District)
* Energy management system (JWD, Toyota, PEW): Six smart houses equipped with HEMS and household storage batteries have been built in the north district of Obuchi Lake Town development site in Rokkasho Village (two of the six houses are Toyota homes equipped with a maximum of 5kWh private storage batteries).
 Toyota will demonstrate the Toyota Smart Center that creates and controls electric power consumption and storage plans including the smart houses and PHEV operation management systems.
* Automated metering system: Smart meters installed by Hitachi in smart houses and other points of consumption
* 100kW-class solar power stations (Hitachi)
* Prius PHEV (8 units) and charging stands (Toyota)

Source: JWD, Toyota, Panasonic Electric Works and Hitachi (2010.9.15)


Homebuilders ambitious about developing homes with electric storage capacities as EV/PHEV make their way into market

 Homebuilders and appliance manufacturers are eager about developing homes with solar power generation, storage and HEMS capacities and their proving tests as they see the growing popularity of EVs and PHEVs.

 For example, Daiwa House Industry has developed D-HEMS, a HEMS system that uses lithium-ion batteries made by Eliiy Power Company and allows the user to decide whether the stored electricity is to be used at home or sold to the electric power company. Panasonic has developed a system that combined consumer-use 18650 type cylindrical lithium-ion batteries. Itochu Property Development has released for sale condominiums that have solar panels and EnerDel-made lithium-ion storage batteries installed in the building's community areas. Osaka Gas Company, jointly with Sekisui House, has developed houses that are powered by three types of batteries (fuel cells, solar cells, lithium-ion cells). The company has started testing the houses with people actually living in them. The company will also demonstrate using batteries for EV as storage batteries for home use.

Daiwa House: Homes with lithium-ion storage batteries now being tested

 In June 2010, Daiwa House announced the company was set to realize self-energized homes of zero environmental load (zero CO2 emissions, zero energy bills) by 2020.
 As the first step toward that goal, Daiwa House began demonstration experiments with homes equipped with (1) solar power generation systems, (2) home-use lithium-ion storage batteries (supplied by Eliiy Power Company, see Note 1) and (3) ICT (information and communication technology). The experiments are currently under way, since July 2010, at the homebuilder's display sites in two locations, one in Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture and the other in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. The company plans to finalize specifications and start selling the homes in 2011.
 The ICT is built around the company's unique energy management system, D-HEMS. The user can choose between two modes; the "eco" mode in which clean electricity generated by solar power generation is consumed in the house and the "wallet" mode in which all clean electricity is sold to electric power companies. (See Note 2)
Source: Daiwa House press release 2011.6.23
(Notes) 1. Eliiy Power Company is a large-sized lithium-ion battery manufacturer established in September 2006 by Daiwa House group, Sharp, INPEX Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing and other companies.
2. While in the "wallet" mode, the electricity generated by solar cells is sold entirely without being used in the house. Electricity for home use is stored in the storage batteries at night while the rates are low. This is more economical for the user under the Japanese current legislature regarding electric billing.

Panasonic: Storage systems for home use with 18650-type batteries

 In June 2010, Panasonic started an experiment at its Suminoe plant in Osaka to demonstrate a home-use storage system comprising lithium-ion batteries in combination with solar cells manufactured by Sanyo Electric. The storage system is built with 140 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries of the 18650 type per module. Four modules with 1.5kWh storage capacity each are connected to build a storage system having 6kWh storage capacity (about one half the daily electricity consumption by a four-member family).
 The demonstration experiment will (1) verify charging and discharging of the lithium-ion storage system in combination with solar power generation and (2) evaluate the reliability of the lithium-ion battery system after long time use. The company plans to finalize specifications of the home-use electric storage system based on the outcome of the experiment and start selling the system in FY2011 for around half a million yen per set (price to compensate the initial investment in ten years).

Source: Panasonic press release 2010.7.8, Nikkei Sangyo Newspaper 2010.7.9

Itochu Property Development: Condominiums released for sale with solar cells and storage systems installed in community areas

 In March 2011, Itochu Property Development introduced the Crevia Futakotamagawa (a 51-apartment condominium located in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo). Solar panels and electric storage systems supplied by EnerDel of the United States, installed in the premises, are used during the daytime to store electricity generated by solar panels, and during the night hours to supply enough electricity to activate all lighting in the community areas (energy-saving LEDs are used in most parts).
 The condominium will also introduce "car sharing systems" with Mitsubishi Motors' i-MiEV for the residents. The EV chargers will be installed as well (assuming that the chargers will be a standard item in all future condominiums).

Source: Itochu Property Development press release 2010.1.8/2011.2.18

Osaka Gas, Sekisui House: Dwelling experiments of smart energy houses under way

 Osaka Gas, jointly with Sekisui House, has started a dwelling experiment of a smart energy house over a three-year span from February 2011. Three types of batteries are used (solid oxide fuel cell, solar cell, lithium-ion cell) and Osaka Gas employee's family will live in the experiment house and use an electric passenger car.
 The HEMS is used for optimal control of the three-way battery system, and to manage and control household electric appliances, hot water supply equipment, automatically-controlled equipment etc. The experiment will verify the resulting energy saving effect and the degree of overall comfort of living.
 The EV driving and charge data will be kept to study the feasibility of using the EV batteries as a substitute for stationary batteries.

Source: Osaka Gas and Sekisui House joint press release 2011.2.1

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