Kyocera, BYD to cooperate on e-bus charging demand aggregation

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Japan’s Kyocera has announced plans to collaborate with China-based EV manufacturer and battery supplier BYD for a project that will seek to optimize charging patterns for electric buses.

Kyocera said it will use an aggregation technology it has developed in its virtual power plant test projects over the past few years. It aims to align demand for e-bus charging services with production from its PV plants and other distributed-generation assets, in order to reduce strain on the grid.

BYD will provide two electric bus models that will be integrated into the system. Its K9 model is a large bus that is already on the market, while its smaller J6 model was specifically designed for the Japanese market and will be commercially available from spring 2020.

According to Kyocera, there are more applications for aggregation systems that will be discovered in the future. It is therefore looking at independent power systems for the residential sector, in addition to finding more applications in the transport sector, such as ride-sharing. To this end, Kyocera says it will cooperate with local communities and power retailers, as well as transmission and distribution system operators.

Kyocera and BYD aim to demonstrate their first solution for EV integration by 2020 and bring it to the market by 2021, pending review of their key findings. They have launched the project in response to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s (METI) “Well-to-Wheel Zero Emission” policy, which seeks to reduce emissions by 80% per vehicle by 2050, and up to 90% per passenger vehicle, compared to a 2010 baseline scenario.

In February, Kyocera revealed plans to set up a virtual power plant around its headquarters in Yokohama. At the time of the announcement, the company said that it would use a solar-plus-storage combination and a peer-to-peer blockchain energy trading platform provided by U.S. -based LO3 Energy.

The aggregation of distributed energy resources, on the supply and consumption side, in order to manage them as single “power plants,” is now gaining a lot of traction. Such technologies could facilitate the integration of variable renewable energy resources at very low cost, while stabilizing the grid.

Among the many factors that cause carbon emissions, electric vehicles are somewhat low-hanging fruit, as they are already available at a marginal price difference compared to vehicles based on combustion engines. However, EV uptake is bound to have a considerable impact on the grid, as electricity demand could spike during typical charging times. Kyocera is not alone in its quest to identify solutions that could enable better integration of EVs into existing grid infrastructure.