In a seemingly paradoxical change in mindset, Toyota announced a new partnership Thursday with Oncor Electric Delivery to explore the benefits of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) EV technology for drivers and the grid.
Despite years of lobbying against electric vehicles, Toyota has apparently changed its stance over the past few months.
Seeing the success of EV leaders like Tesla and BYD achieving records in deliveries and demand each quarter, Toyota is mulling an overhaul of its electric vehicle strategy.
In October, a Reuters report suggested Toyota was taking note of Tesla’s dominance and was considering building a new dedicated EV platform.
Toyota’s electric vehicle strategy thus far has revolved around its bZ or “Beyond Zero,” referring to its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality. The company’s first fully electric vehicle, the bZ4X, was unveiled last year but was quickly recalled due to concerning safety issues.
After showcasing its fifth-generation hybrid Prius, Toyota gave us a glimpse into what its second fully electric vehicle could look like with the bZ Compact SUV Concept. Meanwhile, the Lexus RZ 450e, the brand’s first BEV, is scheduled for sale early next year.
Despite this, Toyota has struggled to commit to fully electric EVs. New reports suggest this may change soon, with Toyota expected to outline a new EV strategy to its suppliers next year.
Taking it further, Toyota is announcing a new vehicle-to-grid program, its first utility agreement for EV charging technology. Perhaps, the world’s largest automaker is ready to embrace pure EVs.
Toyota explores EV technology with new V2G pilot
In a press release Thursday, Toyota Motor North America unveiled a new V2G testing program in partnership with Oncor, the largest transmission and distribution utility company in Texas.
The program will focus on the benefits of V2G technology for both customers and the energy grid. The ability for electric vehicles to send power to and from the car’s battery to the grid has made them powerful backup energy options.
Christopher Yang, group vice president of Toyota EV Charging Solutions, stated:
We envision a future where Toyota BEVs provide a best-in-class mobility experience, but also can be utilized by our customer to power their homes, their communities or even power back the electric grid in times of need.
Toyota and Oncor will complete an initial research project at Oncor’s testing microgrid at its System Operating Services Facility (SOSF).
Oncor’s SOSF microgrid consists of four interlinked microgrids that can work as one or independently. In addition, it includes solar panels, battery storage, and V2G charging technology for testing.
Although the article doesn’t specify which EV, Toyota will use “a BEV” to gain a better understanding of V2G technology and how EVs can be used to lower energy costs with utility companies. In the second phase, starting next year, Toyota will test the tech at homes and businesses.
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