Mobile Microgrids: Toyota, Electric Utility Pepco Researching Vehicle-to-Grid Impacts in Maryland

June 19, 2024
Many V2G proponents can envision bidirectional charging technology as enabling electric vehicles to become mobile microgrids.

Toyota Motor North America (Toyota) and Pepco, a local energy utility, have partnered on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) research for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) using a Toyota bZ4X to explore bidirectional power flow technology enabling BEV owners to not only charge their vehicle's battery but also send power back to the local energy grid.

The collaboration aims to understand the requirements of EV owners through their charging habits and vehicle usage to drive widespread adoption of V2G technology. Currently, nearly 80 percent of owners charge their EVs at home overnight when demand for energy is lower.

The vehicles can send power back to the local energy grid during peak demand hours or at severe weather conditions using bidirectional capability. In this way, many V2G proponents envision bidirectional technology as enabling EVs to become mobile microgrids

The research will be conducted at Pepco's Watershed Sustainability Center located at the company's Rockville Service Center in Montgomery County, Maryland, using a bidirectional charger. Pepco will design and evaluate a variety of EV charging and discharging use-cases providing grid and customer benefits.

Maryland expects to have 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025 and Pepco is helping the state achieve the target by installing 250 EV chargers across Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. Maryland also passed vehicle-to-grid legislation, HB 1256, the Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE) Act, requiring utilities to develop interconnection processes for bidirectional chargers.

The demonstration project will assist Pepco in understanding the infrastructure required to enable the rapid growth of EV charging infrastructure and the nuances of interconnecting V2G assets to the grid. This will help the utility implement requirements of the DRIVE Act and support customer adoption of the V2G technology.

Toyota plans to introduce two three-row BEV SUVs to be assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI). By 2030, Toyota intends to offer 30 BEV models globally across its Toyota and Lexus brand nameplates and produce up to 3.5 million BEVs annually.

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