In order to ensure the sound future development of a mobility society that relies on automobiles as a means of transportation, it is necessary to minimize their impact on the environment while significantly reducing traffic accidents, traffic congestion, and other negative aspects. Based on the concept that the spread of eco-friendly cars is the key to their contributing to society, Toyota is developing and promoting various eco-friendly cars that will help realize a low-carbon society. In addition, we provide safe mobility through interaction with transport infrastructure, amenable, low-carbon mobility, and new societies that link people, cars, robots, and houses. In this way we are actively working toward realizing sustainable, affluent societies.
Toyota is also resolving issues by linking cars and society-not only with people, but with houses and infrastructure as well. The Smart Grid to which Toyota has been devoting energy in recent years is one representative example.
Toyota's concept of the Smart Grid involves linking cars, houses, and society via Toyota Smart Center, and improving energy efficiency through energy management as a means to contribute to a low-carbon society. Cars account for a sizeable proportion of the energy used in regular households. Because Toyota also sells PHVs and EVs powered by electric motors, we believe there is much we can accomplish in this field.
In addition, we have been engaged in our housing business, Toyota Home, for over 30 years. We began selling SINCE feelas, a type of Smart House, in April 2012. Furthermore, we have made accomplishments in relation to car telematics through activities including the G-Book. By making use of these strengths for initiatives in this field, we intend to help realize a low-carbon society and create pleasant, convenient lives.
With changing social conditions and technological innovations (as exemplified by declining birth rates, the aging of society, and energy diversification), the role of the car is likely to extend beyond just providing a means of transport to becoming a part of society and people's lifestyles. To create the possibility of economic growth without the intensive use of energy and resources and contribute to a sustainable, low-carbon society, Toyota is moving beyond the existing framework to produce new cars with added value and appeal. Furthermore, with respect to people's lifestyles and activities, we wish to continue contributing to the creation of genuinely prosperous lifestyles with peace of mind for everyone.
Toyota is making use of smart grid* technology from the perspective of vehicle users by linking cars, homes, and people to help customers live comfortable, low-carbon, and energy-efficient lifestyles, as well as to assist in creating next-generation "smart communities."
In the future, as the use of eco-friendly vehicles including plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) expands, the peak electricity demands of communities will increase if battery charging commences simultaneously. The optimal way to control battery charging is an important issue in the popularization of eco-friendly vehicles. The "smart house" developed by Toyota Home is equipped with a solar power generator and functions to efficiently control electricity consumption, thus providing an ideal method of utilizing self-supplied electricity and managing battery charging for cars. This initiative for battery charging grew out of a single PHV and one smart house, and will be expanded in stages to eventually create large eco cities. This is the smart grid envisioned by Toyota.
Toyota has vast expertise in the numerous technologies needed for the operation of smart grids including of course vehicle technologies, and also IT and housing-related technologies. These will be incorporated into smart grids, or smart communities, in cooperation with various industries and local governments. Cutting-edge information technologies and extensive information management infrastructure are also needed. By coordinating this with future car manufacturing, cars will become not just a means of transport, but also a contact point for people's daily lives and an important element of social systems. Providing comprehensive lifestyle support services to customers through cars - Toyota believes that this will be a valuable business that will respond to communities' requirements and contribute to environmentally friendly societies of the future.
Toyota Home's smart house, SINCÉ feelas, launched in April 2012
Toyota participates in demonstration tests in several locations worldwide to realize the smart grid that the company envisions and popularize next-generation environmentally friendly vehicles. Through these tests, Toyota has developed new technologies and evaluated the usability of cars, peripheral devices, and so on from the customer's perspective.
In one of the demonstration test - the Smart Melit: Smart Mobility & Energy Life in Toyota city - the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Toyota City, in conjunction with private enterprises including Toyota, is undertaking initiatives relating to the creation of a low-carbon society and alternative energy. The trial involves the monitoring the owners of 67 smart houses, that had undergone demonstration tests, for the optimization of energy use in their daily lives (at home), during transportation (PHV/EV, traffic systems), and at destinations (commercial or public facilities, etc.).
The aim is to achieve optimal energy use in these combined spheres of life to create next-generation low-carbon societies in regional cities. The plan is to construct low-carbon social systems that provide a high level of resident satisfaction, and which are the most cost-effective in the world, over the five years of the demonstration test period between 2010 and 2014, and then to communicate this to the rest of the world. It is also hoped that the results may be of assistance in creating new communities when rebuilding areas damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The Smart Melit: Smart Mobility & Energy Life in Toyota city involves the introduction of an original Energy Data Management System (EDMS) to achieve optimal utilization of energy across combined spheres of life. This project is also testing the provision of services for optimal lifestyles. By connecting the energy management systems of each household, data on the electricity consumption of the whole region is gathered and analyzed and the amount of solar power that can be generated is predicted. This information is used to encourage carbon reductions and shift peak electricity demand through measures such as varying the timing of battery charging. Mechanisms for achieving a low-carbon society that can be enjoyed by consumers are also being considered alongside the establishment of indicators for satisfaction with eco-lifestyles. In this way, the project is testing the provision of services for optimal lifestyles. In addition, plans are also being implemented to increase environmental awareness through initiatives such as awarding points according to electricity generation and power saving, and establishing a system of commendation.
EDMS was developed to enable energy management in the pursuit of optimal energy use in living spaces at the community level. Electricity supply and demand is balanced by measures such as the transfer of surplus power, not just between smart houses but also at the level of the surrounding community, including convenience stores and schools. In addition, trials for achieving optimal energy management are being carried out using information and communication terminals such as smartphones to link cars, homes, and people in real time.
Data on the power consumption of each household is gathered through EDMS (11 households with EDMS as of May 2012), while trials using the points system as an incentive to encourage carbon reductions are being carried out. Regarding the energy transferred within a community, the lower the amount of carbon, the more points awarded. Compared to smart houses of the same standard in which the service has not been introduced, there was an average reduction in the community in electricity consumption of around 30% (equivalent to a 34% reduction in carbon emissions).
|Demonstration contents||Rate of
|Instructions on ideal battery charging times
|DR points period||Incentives given for battery charging times
|Information provided on more effective electricity use through analysis
Using a system similar to the carbon reduction incentives, trials were conducted on the shifting of PHV battery charging times through a service provided by EDMS for peak electricity consumption. By means of advice on ideal battery charging times and the awarding of points, there was a change in conduct with 84% of users charging batteries at the ideal late night time.
Based on regional electricity consumption data gathered by EDMS, we are implementing initiatives to allow citizens to lead environmentally friendly lifestyles that are comfortable and enjoyable. In the Smart Melit: Smart Mobility & Energy Life in Toyota city, based on the idea of effectively utilizing natural energy to reduce carbon emissions, power generated by solar panels in each household is saved in storage batteries and excess amounts are shared across the region. The cornerstone of these trials is EDMS. There is strong interest in smart houses among people in the region, and between September 2011 and May 2012 40 households moved into smart houses and are cooperating in the demonstration tests. We are keen to promote activities that balance the environment and consumer satisfaction, and that are aimed at the creation of next-generation communities that are both environmentally friendly and comfortable to live in.
Masayuki Kawamoto R&D Management Div.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions by using next-generation eco-friendly vehicles such as PHVs, EVs, and FCVs for transport, improving traffic flow and promoting the eco-driving of vehicles equipped with ITS, the Traffic Data Management System (TDMS) was developed with the aim of constructing a smooth traffic flow system by providing guidance on optimal modes of transportation according to actual conditions. Demonstration tests of the system will commence in FY2012. TDMS is a traffic system that is intended to form a part of smart communities by balancing supply and demand in traffic and improving energy utilization effectiveness through coordination with regional energy management systems. Specifically, it will gather transportation and driving data within regions by coordinating with the Toyota Smart Center IT platform. The aim is to construct an urban traffic system that will reduce carbon emissions and deliver smooth transportation by providing information and guidance from time to time on optimal modes of transportation (such as car sharing "park and ride," etc. coordinated with public transportation availability).
As an initiative to achieve a low-carbon society through the utilization of public transportation, Fuel Cell (FC) buses are being trialed in the types of environments in which they will actually be used. FC buses use fuel cells as their power source to generate electricity via an electrochemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from the air. Producing no CO2 or exhaust gas by-products other than water, the buses will provide clean and highly efficient public transportation for the near future. In addition, as they can also be used as power generating equipment, a single FC bus can provide supplementary electricity to an ordinary household for a month and thereby FC buses can contribute to society as emergency power sources.
To promote a modal shift to the coexistence of cars with public transportation, demonstration tests for "one-mile mobility" will commence in FY2012. The objective of one-mile mobility is to construct a next generation feeder transport system using ultra-compact EVs. The "last mile" is the distance between the home or other daily destinations in daily life and rail, bus, and other key transport systems. The aim is to promote the use of public transportation for traveling these short distances and contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society.