Indianapolis pilot project with Toyota, Duke Energy, Energy Systems Network envisions common standard between plug-in cars, charging stations and utilities

Hoosier commuters will debut new technologies and practices to help cars, chargers, and utilities ‘speak the same language’

As plug-in  hybrid  electric vehicles (PHEVs)  continue to gain consumer acceptance and market share, automotive companies, utilities and charging equipment providers are collaborating on common standards to seamlessly align vehicles, charging stations and the power grid.  Toyota Motor  Corporation’s  new pilot project in Indianapolis, IN will begin to  answer  the question of how best to manage  plug-in vehicle  charging based on  integrated  communication between the vehicle and  the electric power grid, taking advantage of the region’s existing efforts deploying  plug-in vehicles as part of the ‘Project Plug-IN’ initiative. Toyota  is partnering with  Duke Energy and Energy Systems Network (ESN), the non-profit industry initiative that leads Project Plug-IN,  for this effort.  The pilot project  will use advanced  technologies  to give customers  the  ability to  achieve  their  own  personal charging strategy  automatically  –  for example, minimize electricity costs  by communicating with the  utility company to recharge during off-peak periods.

The project aims to test and validate the effectiveness of  communication standards developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)  to provide a simple and affordable smart grid communication
protocol between the vehicle, the charging station, and the utility company  –  to effectively manage vehicle charging. Additionally, the project plans to develop appropriate business processes and standards to most effectively manage charging to the benefit of the customer, utility and vehicle systems.

The pilot project will involve 5 Prius  Plug-in Hybrid  vehicles driven by Duke Energy customers  living in the Indianapolis  area. These  customers  will drive the cars regularly during the pilot period, which is expected to begin in early 2013 and last for at least 12 months.

“Through Project Plug-IN, the Indianapolis region has been a national leader in the deployment and monitoring of plug-in vehicles  with typical consumers, gathering data and taking steps towards making the ‘electric commute’ a truly practical alternative for more Americans,” said ESN President & CEO Paul Mitchell. “We’re pleased to extend this effort through the partnership with Toyota and Duke Energy, to help our vehicles, charging infrastructure and utilities speak the same language for the benefit of consumers.”

Toyota will provide a UL certified home charging station and a home gateway communication system to be installed in each  customer’s  home,  allowing  the  vehicle and the  ‘smart grid’  equipment  to communicate with each other  to evaluate  billing and power supply control.  Duke Energy will simulate price structures and demand response events to understand the impact to the customer’s bill and understand how these types of programs can aid in grid reliability as  plug-ins  become more prominent.The pilot will employ the use of  Homeplug Green PHY, a  Power Line  communication standard that  is based on SAE technical standard J2931, and utilizes ISO/IEC standard which has been announced by ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) as the European standard beginning in 2017. This method allows the sharing of data collected in a home network between the plug-in vehicle and the utility.  Toyota Info Technology Center, U.S.A., Inc.; Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. and Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc. support this project as  the suppliers  of the Level 2 EVSE and communication systems.

Toyota hopes to gain technological insight to perfect future vehicle iterations for its customers as well as for the overall advancement of the plug-in vehicle industry.  “Smart charging  through  two-waycommunication with utilities will not only be a benefit to the customers,  but is  crucial for the promotion of  transportation electrification,” said  Edward  J. Mantey, VP, Vehicle Planning  &  Corporate Strategy, Toyota Technical Center.

Each Duke Energy customer will use the vehicle communication system to monitor and manage their optimized charging  using a mobile software application provided by Toyota for the pilot project. Data collected from the vehicles and EVSEs will be aggregated and maintained  securely, protecting all personal information. Surveys will be administered in order to gather qualitative data on customer experience and behavior related to the pilot project.

“These pilots are key to understanding what electric vehicle owners expect from their charging experience which assists Duke Energy in maintaining overall grid reliability while minimizing costs for all customers,” said David Mohler, VP, Emerging Technologies for Duke Energy. “Standardized communications between vehicle, charging infrastructure and utility is critical to advancing the  plug-in vehicle industry and we are excited about being a partner in this project.”

About Energy Systems Network
Energy Systems Network (ESN)  is a not-for-profit, industry-driven economic initiative focused on the development of  the  clean technology sector. ESN provides project development and coordination for joint ventures  and cooperative partnerships  between network members who are seeking to bring new energy technologies, products or applications to market. ESN member institutions provide industry expertise across the energy spectrum, including Fortune 500 and global leaders collaborating on projects totaling nearly $1 billion in investment. Among several other initiatives, ESN and its partners developed  Project Plug-IN  –  a commercial scale pilot of plug-in electric vehicles and smart grid technology working together to demonstrate an energy efficient transportation system solution. It aims to develop, deploy, demonstrate, market and evaluate a range of plug-in vehicles powered by an integrated charging infrastructure located in homes, businesses and parking facilities. To date ESN has coordinated the deployment of more than 125 electric vehicles to public and private  fleets  as well as consumers and  installed  of nearly 200 charging stations across the Indianapolis Region.

About Duke Energy
Duke Energy  is  the largest  electric  power  companies in the United States with more than $97 billion in total assets.  Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.1 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK.

About Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation and its subsidiaries sold over 7.3  million cars, trucks and buses worldwide under the Toyota, Scion, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands in the  fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. The company manufactures vehicles and parts in 26 countries and regions around the world and sells them in approximately 170 countries and locations. Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs  over  30,000 in the U.S. and its U.S. investment is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. In an effort to develop the vehicles and technologies of the future, Toyota’s R&D is far reaching and includes investing more than $1 million an hour globally in areas such as vehicle safety, quality and sustainability. While Toyota remains committed to hybrids as the core of its environmental technology, their sustainable mobility strategy is far-reaching and incorporates products, partnerships, the urban environment and energy solutions. Toyota is slated to bring multiple plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles to market by 2012. Key elements of plug-in vehicle  expertise at Toyota are  housed in the advanced product strategy & product planning group at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. This group oversees the development of new concepts and strategies for future Toyota and Lexus vehicles.  Toyota Info Technology Center U.S.A., Inc.  is a subsidiary of Toyota in Mountain View, California responsible for developing advanced technologies.

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