Toyota, San Diego utility partner on two-way EV charging

Toyota is partnering with San Diego’s largest utility company to explore using the grid to power electric vehicles (EVs) but also give back to it.

Toyota Motor North America and the San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) — which serves 3.7 million people — have agreed to collaborate on researching what’s called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) technology for battery-powered EVs using a Toyota bZ4X all-electric SUV.

Researchers will investigate the possibility of a bidirectional power flow technology that would enable EV owners to both charge their cars’ batteries from the electric grid while also releasing electricity back to the grid, according to a joint press release.

Such capabilities could serve to optimize energy use, for example, by charging vehicles when energy demand is minimal and sending power back to the grid during peak hours.

“We are embracing the concept of an entire electrified ecosystem for our customers, and the ability for vehicles to integrate with the grid is an essential component of this ecosystem,” Christopher Yang, group vice president of Toyota EV Charging Solutions, said in a statement.

The V2G research will take place on the utility’s campus in San Diego, making use of bidirectional charging technology pioneered by Virginia-based startup Fermata Energy.

Miguel Romero, SDG&E chief commercial officer, touted the partnership as an important pathway toward building “a sustainable and resilient energy future.”

“V2G has the potential to be a game changer for the power grid and for consumers,” Romero said in a statement.

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