Electric < Back

Promoting Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) Using Electric Vehicles (EVs) While Adding Value to EV Ownership

VPPs are mechanisms that connect and aggregate renewable energy power generation sources, such as solar power generation sources, batteries, and other power sources at places including homes and factories. Toyota Tsusho has invested in Nuvve Corporation, a U.S. startup operating a V2G system that controls the charge and discharge of the batteries in EVs connected to charging stations based on the electrical supply-and-demand balance of electrical grids*1. Nuvve’s system creates a VPP that can simultaneously control the charging and discharging of multiple parked EVs.

  • Investment in U.S. startup that is the first in the world to engage in commercial Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) operation (NEXT Technology Fund project) (Announced on December 15, 2017)
  • Participation in VPP V2G aggregator demonstration project that utilizes PHV/EV storage batteries (Announced on May 30, 2018)
  • Strategic investment in Orocobre Limited, a lithium resource development company, through third-party allocation of new shares (Announced on January 16, 2018)

V2G technology has the ability to adjust for fluctuations in renewable energy output due to changes in weather conditions, benefits EV owners by generating income when using the batteries of vehicles that are not in use, and can lower the cost of EV purchasing and maintenance. In Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is carrying out V2G technology demonstrations and feasibility studies. In countries and regions in which EVs are expected to become more widespread, such as Japan, Toyota Tsusho and Nuvve will promote the creation and adoption of V2G businesses that use EVs and PHVs, further supporting the penetration of renewable energy and creating added value for EVs.

Furthermore, Toyota Tsusho and Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. have jointly applied for subsidies to initiate the V2G Aggregator Demonstration Project as a part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Agency for Natural Resources and Energy’s FY2018 Subsidies for Virtual Power Plant Demonstration Projects Using Demand Side Energy Resources, and their application was officially approved on May 29, 2018.

*9 “Electrical grids” refers to all equipment from electricity production to consumption, including power generation equipment, power transmission equipment, transformers, electrical distribution equipment, and consumer equipment.

• Accelerate the introduction of PHVs/EVs, which only have low negative environmental impacts, by providing new values of PHVs/EVs with bi-directional chargers.

• Reduce the cost of demand and supply adjustment of electricity by acquiring new types of Distributed Energy Resources, which results in further diversification.

- Contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society and stable supply of electricity Increasing Lithium Production and Securing Resources in the Argentine Republic

Amid the accelerating shift from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles to EVs in industrialized nations, Toyota Tsusho predicts that the use of lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices will continue to grow, and lithium demand will rise further. We are carrying out a lithium resource development project in conjunction with Australia-based Orocobre, in which we have recently invested, at the Olaroz Salt Lake in Argentina. This project pumps up brine, from which it refines lithium carbonate, which is then sold. (Toyota Tsusho has invested roughly 292 million AUD (15% of the Company’s common stock (after full dilution)) Through this investment, we will create a strategic alliance and further increase our production capacity. The expansion of the project (Phase 2) aims for a production capacity of approximately 25,000 tons per year, and an overall production capacity of 42,500 tons per year when operations start in the latter half of 2019. As with Phase 1, Toyota Tsusho will have exclusive sales rights to the lithium produced in Phase 2, and will secure a long-term, stable supply of lithium. Together with Orocobre, we will secure a mid-term and longterm stable supply of lithium, with considerations toward creating a value chain that includes a lithium hydroxide production business in Japan.