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Toyota Motor Corporation and Duke Energy and Energy Systems Network Partner on Central Indiana Pilot Project
[August 26, 2012]

Toyota Motor Corporation and Duke Energy and Energy Systems Network Partner on Central Indiana Pilot Project

Aug 27, 2012 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Toyota Motor Corporation is partnering with Duke Energy and Energy Systems Network, the non-profit industry initiative that leads Project Plug-IN, on a new pilot project in central Indiana.

In a release, the Company noted that the pilot project will use 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 to provide a 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 five 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 and 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.

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.

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 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, Sumitomo Electric Industries and Leviton Manufacturing support this project as the suppliers of the Level 2 EVSE and communication systems.

"Smart charging through two-way communication with utilities will not only be a benefit to the customers, but is crucial for the promotion of transportation electrification," said Edward Mantey, VP, Vehicle Planning and 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." Energy Systems Network is a not-for-profit, industry-driven economic initiative focused on the development of the clean technology sector.

Duke Energy is an electric power company.

Toyota Motor Corporation manufactures vehicles and parts and sells them.

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