Toyota Motor North America (Toyota) and local energy utility Pepco are working together on vehicle to grid (V2G) research for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) using a Toyota bZ4X.

This collaborative effort would explore bidirectional power flow technology which would allow BEV owners to charge their vehicle’s battery and also send power back to the local energy grid. V2G technology has the potential to support and provide benefits to customers through improved energy reliability and resilience, the integration of renewables, and the possibility of reduced electricity costs.

This collaboration aimed to understand the needs of EV owners through their charging habits and vehicle usage which would be crucial in driving widespread adoption of V2G technology. Around 80% of owners currently charge their EVs at home overnight when demand for energy is lower. With bidirectional capability, these vehicles could send power back to the local energy grid during peak demand hours or at other critical times, such as severe weather.

“Bidirectional charging is a great way for customers to leverage their electric vehicles in a way that supports the grids and their home electricity ecosystem,” said Christopher Yang, group vice president, Toyota EV Charging Solutions. “Working with Pepco will help us understand charging and discharging use cases, which will ultimately benefit our customers and help utility providers better understand grid demands.”

Maryland is one of the fastest growing EV markets in the US and is targeting to have 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025. Pepco is installing 250 EV chargers across Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. In April, Maryland also became the first state to pass vehicle to grid legislation with HB1256 – the Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE) Act – which requires utilities to develop interconnection processes for bidirectional chargers.

Tyler Anthony, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, said: “This collaboration with Toyota allows us to better understand V2G technology and its impact on the grid, our customers, and overall service reliability.”

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The V2G research will take place at Pepco’s Watershed Sustainability Center, in the company’s Rockville Service Center in Montgomery County, using a bidirectional charger. Pepco will lead the effort to design and evaluate a variety of EV charging and discharging use-cases that can potentially provide grid and customer benefits. The demonstration project will also assist Pepco in understanding the infrastructure needed to enable the rapid growth of EV charging infrastructure and the nuances of interconnecting large numbers of V2G assets to the grid to better prepare the utility to implement requirements of the DRIVE Act and support customer adoption of this technology.

Currently, Toyota offers two mass market BEVs in the US and Canada – the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ.

The automaker recently announced plans for two new three-row BEV SUVs which will be assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI).