ITOCHU Announces Commercial EV Connection with Distributed Energy Resource management Platform

January 12, 2022

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that a demonstration of next generation energy management by AI for optimal control among individual facilities, solar power generation facilities, energy storage systems, facilities as well as commercial EVs, is commencing in January 2022 in collaboration with iGrid Solutions Inc. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Tomokazu Akita, President). This is the second phase of an ongoing demonstration of the development of the distributed energy resource management platform (hereinafter "REAL New Energy Platform") (*1).

ITOCHU has been developing the REAL New Energy Platform with cooperation of the supermarket store in Kawagoe Matoba operated by Yaoko Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Kawagoe-shi, Saitama; Sumito Kawano, President) since June 2021. This demonstration will verify the following three points by replacing one of the online supermarket delivery vehicles with EV and incorporating it into the platform.

1. Improved efficiency of energy management by utilizing commercial EV and V2H charger/discharger

The EV is constantly connected with the platform via V2H charger/discharger outside of delivery hours, with the AI optimizing charge/discharge control in accordance with factors like facility power usage, output power of solar power generation facility systems, remaining charge of energy storage systems and EV, and delivery schedules. By charging at times other than power peak and discharging during peak hours, the peak shaving effect will be higher than when involving only the solar power generation facilities and energy storage systems, which will allow for even lower power rates.
Moreover, by adding EV to BCP power supply sources in addition to existing energy storage systems, facilities will also become more resilient to blackout disasters.

2. Advanced integration of mobility and energy by using vehicle information

For the vehicle, we are using kei-car (A-segment small car) conversion EV developed by AZAPA Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Nagoya-shi, Aichi; Yasuhiro Kondo, President & CEO; hereinafter "AZAPA"). By utilizing the varied information obtainable from AZAPA's original vehicle control unit and telematics systems, we are working to realize more advanced integration of mobility and energy.

3. Development of usage of used EV batteries

The vehicle equips with used EV battery, and we are conducting various types of appraisal / assessment, including of running performance. We are developing new usage of EV batteries by creating case for short-distance delivery vehicles, in addition to reuse for energy storage system named Bluestorage (*2), which we already have case data of.

There are about 8 million commercial kei-cars for cargo transportation in Japan, so we expect a gradual shift to EVs in line with the decarbonization trend in logistics. Meanwhile, there are worries about unexpected power peaks when vehicles have to be charged at the right time, which makes it necessary for companies to consider comprehensive energy management when introducing commercial EVs, thus increasing the demand for integrated control solutions.

Through this demonstration, we will create real cases of improved economic performance through vehicle operations and effective energy management in last-mile logistics using small commercial EVs, which is an area where we expect a relatively early spread. Based on this, we will expand the functions of our REAL New Energy Platform.

Empirical experiment image