Cleaner EV Charging Is Here Thanks To Toyota

Technology / 4 Comments

Using key electricity data, your Toyota or Lexus app will tell you when the best time is to charge.

Toyota has announced a collaboration with nonprofit organization WattTime, which will allow owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to identify the most efficient charging times while also leading to the lowest possible impact on health and the environment.

WattTime was founded in 2014 and provides key data to both power utilities and individuals about the best times to pull electricity from the grid, and Toyota vehicles will now be the first to benefit from this data. EVs and PHEVs from Lexus will also be able to take advantage of the functionality via the Remote Connect feature in the Toyota/Lexus apps.

While Toyota only has one EV that would benefit from the feature, the bZ4X, the popular Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime PHEVs can also make use of the tech. But how does it all work?

Toyota Motor North America 2023 Toyota bZ4X Front Angle View CarBuzz
2023 Toyota bZ4X Front Angle View

Customers with eligible vehicles will have to opt-in to the Remote Connect service via their apps once their vehicle has been registered. Electricity forecast data will then be obtained from WattTime, and this will be combined with each customer's specific charging and mobility needs to create an individualized charging schedule.

Obtainable via the Eco Charging feature, customers will easily be able to see the charging times that offer the lowest carbon footprint and impact on health by, for instance, drawing electricity from the cleanest power plant options available at any given time. As WattTime states, consumers can then avoid periods of "dirtier energy" and adjust to different power plants turning on or off at different times. Without WattTime's data, there is no way for the average consumer to have access to this information.

An example provided by WattTime is the New York grid, where an upstate power plant causes far less harm to people's lungs than if the same amount of power was obtained from a fossil-fueled peaker plant in Queens.

Front View Driving Toyota Instrument Cluster Toyota
Front View Driving
Instrument Cluster

"With the integration of WattTime data in the Toyota and Lexus apps, we are providing customers an easy and accessible way to identify times when they can charge their vehicle that help reduce environmental impact," said Steve Basra, group vice president of Connected Technologies, Toyota Motor North America.

While eco-conscious consumers will appreciate the new tech, Toyota still needs to be selling far more zero-emission vehicles before its carbon neutrality goals are taken more seriously. In the United States, only 1,220 bZ4X crossovers were sold in 2022, and the Lexus RZ isn't here yet. Until it has a larger range of fully electric offerings, the Japanese marque will continue losing sales to the likes of Tesla and Hyundai.

Frontal Aspect Toyota Charge Port Toyota Steering Wheel Design Toyota
Frontal Aspect
Charge Port
Steering Wheel Design

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