What is smart EV charging and how does it work?
As the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) increases, so does the need for EV chargers. While there are many types of EV chargers, smart EV chargers are fast becoming the most popular option. The technology behind these chargers is changing the way we charge our EVs, making the process more efficient and convenient. Let's take a look at what EV smart charging is, how it works and some of its benefits.
What is smart charging?
Smart EV charging is a type of electric vehicle charging that lets you optimise the charging process. Usually, it's optimised based on certain criteria like time of day, electricity price and the state of charge of the battery.
By taking all of this into account, smart EV charging can reduce how much it costs to fully charge a battery. In the long run, it can also lower the overall cost of ownership for an electric vehicle. A smart EV charger avoids times of the day when electricity prices are high and can time the charging process to use renewable energy when it’s most abundant - like overnight when the wind is blowing and energy is at a super low price because of low demand. Smart EV charging can also help to improve the range and performance of an electric vehicle by ensuring that the battery is properly charged and ready to go when you need it.
With a smart EV charger, you can control the whole process remotely. Decide when your EV is charged and how much power it receives while monitoring the charging process from anywhere. Smart EV chargers also have the ability to communicate with the grid and other devices, such as your home’s smart meter. Receiving updates on electricity prices, the smart charger can adjust the charging process accordingly to achieve the best EV tariff possible.
How does smart charging work?
Smart EV charging works by using a smart charger for a car, like the Ohme Home Pro charger, connected to the electric vehicle and the power grid. The smart EV charger then uses algorithms to optimise the charging process based on the criteria that are set by the user. These can include:
- Desired charge level: the battery percentage you want your vehicle to be charged up to.
- When you want your car to be charged by: this is useful if you want to take advantage of cheaper night-time electricity rates.
- Minimum charge level: this is the lowest battery percentage you’re willing to allow your vehicle to be charged to.
Set your criteria and the smart charger will automatically start and stop the charging process, as necessary. It also keeps track of the electricity price and will only charge when prices are low.
You can also programme your smart charger to take advantage of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. It does this by storing electricity when it's being generated by these sources, making it usable for later to charge your car when needed.
What are the benefits of smart charging?
There are many benefits to using smart electric car charging, including:
- Reduced costs: Smart chargers can automatically take advantage of lower prices during off-peak hours, which can save you money on your electric bill.
- Increased convenience: Smart chargers can be programmed to charge your vehicle at times that are convenient for you, so you don't have to worry about it — just set it and go about your day.
- Improved reliability: Smart chargers can provide real-time information on the charging process, so you can be sure that your vehicle is getting the power it needs, when it needs it. This means that you'll always have a full charge.
- Reduced emissions: Smart chargers can help to reduce emissions by optimising the charging process and taking advantage of renewable energy sources when possible. This minimises your use of fossil fuels and your impact on the environment.
- Grid stability: Smart chargers can help to stabilise the grid by providing accurate information on demand and managing the charging process to avoid peak demand periods. This will reduce the need for expensive grid upgrades and improve the overall efficiency of the electricity system — so everyone benefits.
- Improved performance: Smart chargers can help to improve the range and performance of your electric vehicle by keeping the battery properly charged.
These are just a few of the benefits that smart EV charging can offer. Switching to a smart charger can not only help you, but it can also help the grid and minimise environmental impact. This win-win-win is why more people than ever are making the switch to smart EV charging.
Do all EV chargers need to be smart?
While many new EV chargers are considered smart chargers that can communicate with the grid to optimise power usage, not all EV chargers need to be smart. You can continue to use your standard EV charger, as long as it is compatible with your vehicle. However, if you want to take advantage of the benefits of smart charging, consider making the switch.
If you're interested in getting a smart charger for your home, there are a few things to consider:
- Decide which type of charger you want: Dependent on your vehicle type and your home set-up, you might choose a different charger. For example, a type 1 charger is the most basic and will work with most EVs. A level 2 charger, on the other hand, is faster and more powerful, usually recommended for home use.
- Make sure your car is compatible with the charger: Not all EVs are compatible with all types of smart chargers so make sure you get the right one for your car.
- Decide on the installation location: For home chargers, you'll need to decide where you want the charger to be installed. If you have a driveway or garage, this is the best place for them.
Once you've decided which type of charger you need, make the switch to smart charging and enjoy all of the benefits it has to offer. Some of the benefits of smart EV chargers over traditional ones include reduced costs, increased convenience, improved reliability, reduced emissions and grid stability. If you're interested in getting a smart charger for your home, check your vehicle's compatibility and charging needs before making a decision.
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