Toyota Motor (TMC) has developed the Toyota Smart Center, a system that links homes, vehicles, electric power companies and users, facilitating an integrated control of energy consumption, as part of its smart-grid initiative to support efficient energy use to create a low-carbon society.

The Smart Center monitors the energy used by plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) and EVs and houses equipped with home energy management system (HEMS), the electricity supplied by the power company, and also produced by the houses from sources like solar panels.

The system collects information regarding vehicle-battery charge from a household-linked PHV or EV, household power consumption information from the HEMS and charge-rate information for specific time segments from the power company.

The system then utilizes this information to coordinate vehicle recharging and household energy consumption to minimize CO2 emissions and reduce electricity costs.

The users can remotely check the current battery charge of their vehicle and the distance it could travel, adjust the charging time or turn the air-conditioning on or off to ready the car for use using a smart phone.

At home, the system can automatically monitor power consumption, solar-panel electricity production, battery charge and Eco Cute hot water volume based on users’ lifestyles to save energy.

Toyota, which has been testing its smart center in Rokkasho, northern Japan, since last month, aims to market similar systems with PHVs scheduled for launch in early 2012 and with some Toyota Housing homes.