Toyota Teams Up With WattTime To Help Customers Identify Low-Emission Charging Times

With EV adoption on the rise, automakers are coming up with new solutions to help make EV ownership accessible, efficient, and, most of all, eco-friendly. For instance, Toyota Motor North America announced a partnership with WattTime that will allow Toyota and Lexus customers to identify the ideal charging times for their electrified vehicles.
Toyota WattTime Eco Charging 8 photos
Photo: Toyota
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This new collaboration is in line with Toyota's goals of providing cleaner and sustainable energy solutions for its customers. The goal is to provide certain health and environmental impact data to Toyota and Lexus customers who own a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). This will be done through the Remote Connect features, which can be found within the Toyota and Lexus apps.

WattTime is a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 – it started with software coders in a computer-filled room trying to find an answer to a seemingly simple question: "How clean is the electricity I'm using right now?". With support from over 200 volunteers and various universities, it grew into a full-on organization offering multiple technological solutions that make it easy for anyone to achieve emissions reductions.

As part of Toyota's agreement with WattTime, the Japanese company will be the sole auto manufacturer to also offer WattTime data related to human health to its customers. Basically, customers will receive recommended charging schedules that can reduce the health impact of electricity being pulled from the local utility. This is especially important for disadvantaged communities where high-emission power plants are clustered in the same area.

For instance, on the New York grid, getting power from an upstate power plant causes less harm to people's lungs than getting that same amount of energy from fossil-fueled peaker plants in the middle of Queens. Gavin McCormick, founder and executive director of WattTime, explained, "The key is knowing which power plants will respond — which will turn on or off — based on when people use electricity,"

By this point, you might be wondering how this all works. Well, customers with eligible vehicles can download the Toyota or Lexus app, register the car, and opt-in to the Remote Connect service via the app. WattTime provides electricity forecast data, which is then combined with the customer's charging and mobility requirements. The app then provides a charging schedule through the Eco Charging feature. In this way, customers can make sure to charge their vehicles at specific times of the day to have a reduced carbon footprint and less impact on health.

Both Toyota and Lexus apps are available for download on iPhone and Android smartphones. However, you'll need a trial or subscription to Remote Connect to access the Eco Charging feature. Keep in mind that you'll need a cellular connection and GPS signal to ensure the optimum operation of the service.

Simply owning an EV doesn't mean that you no longer have to find ways to reduce carbon emissions. While it's hard to do so individually, it's critical that auto manufacturers come up with solutions to enable customers to minimize environmental impact. As Toyota demonstrates, the technology is out there – automakers just need to find ways to implement them.
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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
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Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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