Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology is an intelligent charging system that allows electric vehicles (EVs) to store excess energy from the grid and send it back when needed. This way, EVs can act as mobile batteries that can help balance the supply and demand of electricity, especially from renewable sources that are variable and intermittent.
V2G technology benefits EV owners, utilities, and the environment. For EV owners, V2G can provide a source of income by selling electricity back to the grid at peak times or participating in demand response programs. For utilities, V2G can reduce the need for costly and polluting peaker plants, improve grid stability and reliability, and integrate more renewables into the system. For the environment, V2G can lower greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and fossil fuel consumption.
However, V2G technology also faces challenges, such as the availability and compatibility of bi-directional chargers, the impact on battery life and warranty, the regulatory and market barriers, and the cybersecurity risks. Therefore, V2G technology requires more research, development, and demonstration to overcome these hurdles and realize its full potential.
Toyota and San Diego Gas & Electric Collaborate on V2G Pilot Project
One company leading the way in V2G research is Toyota, the world’s largest automaker and a pioneer in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Toyota has announced a collaboration with Oncor Electric Delivery, a Texas-based electric transmission and distribution company, to conduct a V2G pilot project using its upcoming battery electric vehicle (BEV), the bZ4X.
The bZ4X is Toyota’s first volume BEV. The bZ4X is built on a new dedicated electric platform, co-developed with Subaru, that features a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system, a spacious cabin, and a solar recharging system. According to Toyota, the bZ4X also boasts a range of over 300 miles on a single charge.
The V2G pilot project will consist of two phases. The first phase will use Oncor’s research and testing microgrid at its System Operating Services Facility (SOSF) in south Dallas, near Toyota’s national headquarters. The SOSF microgrid comprises four interconnected microgrids that can be controlled independently or combined into a single system. The microgrid also includes a V2G charger, solar panels, and battery storage for testing and evaluation.
The second phase, slated for 2023, will involve a V2G pilot where testing will be conducted with bZ4X vehicles connected at homes or businesses within Oncor’s service territory. The project will use Toyota’s Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions (EVCS) team, responsible for developing and deploying charging infrastructure and services for Toyota’s electrified vehicles.
The collaboration aims to understand the interconnectivity between EVs and utilities better and explore the customer and grid benefits of V2G technology. The project will also help Toyota and Oncor prepare for the broader EV charging ecosystem in the U.S. and offer a seamless electrified mobility customer experience.