Toyota is entering the residential battery storage market with its new O-Uchi Kyuden system, which consists of a battery with a rated capacity of 8.7 kWh and a rated output of 5.5 kWh. So far, it seems like a competitor to the Tesla Powerwall, but there are a few differences.
First, the Toyota battery is shown as being mounted on the ground outside only, whereas the Powerwall can be mounted on an interior wall. Second, Toyota says the system “supports supplying power from electrified vehicles (HEV, PHEV, BEV, FCEV) at 100V AC, and can use electricity stored in electrified vehicles as a backup power source during power outages, allowing users to live with peace of mind.”
That’s not as crystal clear as it might be, but suggests the Toyota battery can be used to charge a vehicle battery and also to draw additional power from a vehicle battery when needed (assuming the vehicle itself supports bi-directional charging.) In a footnote, Toyota says, “The maximum output from the vehicle supply adapter is 1.1 kWh.”
The battery is available to order now in Japan, with the first installs scheduled for August of this year. The Toyota press release studiously avoids any mention of price. It also does not give any hint whether the product will be available anywhere except in the company’s home market.
The battery and all its associated components weighs pretty close to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) which may be one reason why you wouldn’t want to hang one on on a wall unless you are pretty darn sure where the studs are.
The O-Uchi Kyuden System uses electrified vehicle battery technology such as Toyota’s battery control to ensure safety and provide a supply of electricity to the entire home not just in normal situations, but even during power outages caused by natural disasters, the company says. In addition, by linking with a photovoltaic system, it can supply the appropriate amount of electricity based on customer needs throughout the day and night. Toyota believes that using this system will encourage the use of solar power, which is a renewable energy. [We’re not sure why the company feels it needs to explain that solar power is renewable energy.]
In the future, as the internet of things becomes more common, the Toyota battery storage system will use a wireless LAN router connected to the hybrid power conditioner to permit control of the system via an app on a smartphone of tablet.
We don’t think the folks at Tesla are shaking in their boots about this new home storage option. What most CleanTechnica readers will find interesting is the provision for V2H operation built in. That is one thing Tesla doesn’t offer — yet — but with such systems becoming available from Ford with its new F-150 Lightning battery electric pickup truck and other automakers, Tesla may find it needs to rearrange its position on V2L, V2H, and V2G capability.
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