Ultra-small EVs to Be Tested With Solar-powered Charging Stations

2014/01/30 11:01
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Toshiba Corp announced that it has launched the "Field Test Project Related to Utilization of Small Electric Vehicles, etc in Miyakojima City" Jan 28, 2014, in cooperation with the government of Miyakojima City (Okinawa Prefecture), Honda Motor Co Ltd and Honda R&D Co Ltd.

The project is aimed at collecting data on the introduction, utilization and operation management of power supply equipment and ultra-small electric vehicles (EVs) as new means of transportation in the Miyakojima island for the "eco island" project. The field test will be performed from Jan 28, 2014, to March 31, 2016.

Specifically, Toshiba will build charging stations equipped with solar panels and rechargeable batteries on three sites: the government office buildings of Shimoji, Gusukube and Irabu. Also, the company aims to know the optimal amount of solar electricity and the optimal capacity of rechargeable batteries necessary for EVs in the island in addition to the EVs for the test to run only on renewable energy by using the "Feminity," Toshiba's HEMS (home energy management system), to visualize power supply and demand.

For the charging stations, Toshiba's "eneGoon" home-use stationary power storage system equipped with its high-efficiency solar panels and "SCiB" lithium-ion (Li-ion) storage batteries is used. Because power outage frequently occurs in Miyakojima City due to typhoons, the company expects to use the storage batteries as an emergency power source.

Toshiba aims to promote the use of the power storage system for normal households based on a model to be established through the experiment. Part of the facilities of the charging stations was selected for the "Project for Promoting Installation of Infrastructure for Charging Next-generation Vehicles" of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

The SCiB is also used in the "Micro Commuter Prototype β (MC-β)," Honda R&D's ultra-small EV that is used in the driving test part of the field test, as a power source to drive the vehicle. Taking advantage of the long product life of the SCiB, Toshiba is considering reusing the battery as a stationary battery after using it for the vehicle. Also, it plans to accelerate the development and application of advanced technologies for establishing infrastructure, etc using next-generation vehicle systems and renewable energy.

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