What’s a smart EV charger?

Everything EV | 15 June 2023

Owning an electric vehicle (EV) without a home EV charger is like eating French fries without mayonnaise.

It’s good. But it could be so much better.

A home charger makes life with an EV more enjoyable, more convenient, and simpler.

And like mayonnaise, chargers come in different varieties.

Garlic. Mustard. Lime and wasabi.

Dumb. Smart. App-controlled.

Let’s take a look at some of the key features the best chargers have and how they can benefit you.

First, the difference between a dumb and a smart charger.

Smart vs dumb EV chargepoints

A dumb chargepoint is essentially an EV-specific plug socket. When you plug in, it sends electricity to your car. That’s it.

A smart chargepoint, on the other hand, has a data connection that allows it to communicate data on electricity usage and charging status.

This opens up a world of possibilities. It means that you can control your chargepoint remotely, and easily see the charging status of your car.

The Government’s smart chargepoint regulations

Last year, the government sent dumb chargers to the back of the class with a ruling that all new EV chargepoints must be smart.

It was a move to ensure that the National Grid doesn’t get overwhelmed by too many people plugging in their EVs at the same time.

The ruling means that all new chargepoints must have, among other things, a couple of key features that help smooth out electricity demand if necessary:

Off-peak charging

Day in, day out, from Inverness to St Ives, the nation’s electricity usage peaks from 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm.

New chargepoints have a setting that can stop them charging between these times. You can manually override it – you just might get a nudge to encourage you to stick to off-peak charging if possible.

Delayed or phased charging

Chargepoints can also delay a charging session by 30 minutes if there’s too much demand on the electricity system. Again, you can manually override this if you need to charge up quickly.

The best smart EV chargers can do much more

The government standards are the bare minimum.

The best chargepoints can do a lot more and are packed with features that will help you:

  • Take the hassle out of charging your car
  • Save money and reduce your carbon footprint
  • Keep your home up to date with the latest home energy tech

For EV chargepoint nerds like us, this is where things get really exciting.

Make the most of your solar energy

If you’ve got solar panels, a smart chargepoint can help you make the most of the solar energy.

Top quality chargepoints can tell when your system is generating more electricity than you’re using.

It can then send that excess energy to your car battery, rather than selling it back to the Grid (selling back to the Grid is okay, but you typically only get a few pennies. It’s generally much more economical to make use of the electricity).

The chargepoint maximises your use of free electricity by helping you avoid charging after the sun’s gone down.

And the best bit? Because it’s smart, it’s all automatic. You don’t need to lift a finger.

Control your chargepoint with an app

An app-controlled chargepoint takes convenience to the next level.

It means you can control your EV charger with a few swipes of your smartphone.

Check how many miles are in the battery while you’re watching Netflix.

Switch your charger on or off while you’re in a Zoom meeting (off screen, of course).

Toggle settings while you’re walking the dog.

You get the picture.

A chargepoint app means you’re always in control of your car’s charging, wherever you are.

Charging in harmony with the rest of your home

The best smart chargepoints can link in with the rest of your home energy system.

They can automatically schedule charging for times when it costs less and it’s not going to overload your home electricity supply.

6pm in the evening is, for example, a typical energy-hungry time of day for the average home.

Oven, dishwasher, kettle, tumble dryer, lights, and so on.

It’s all going great guns.

If you’re on an Economy 7 or Time of Use tariff, it’s also a time of day when electricity is more expensive.

Your smart chargepoint can detect all of this information and automatically reduce the charge rate to your car until things have quietened down.

Future proof your home

As we transition to net zero, technology is moving at a pace.

Smart tech that helps make the most of renewable energy, reduces energy use in the home, and helps balance electricity demand will become the norm.

A well-equipped smart chargepoint will set your home up for the future. It can work in harmony with the rest of your appliances to optimise your home energy system. And if you’ve got solar panels, it can play a central role in making sure you don’t waste any of that free juice.

About Powerverse

We’re experts in home energy technology and specialise in smart EV chargepoints, solar systems, and AI-powered energy management. If you want a low carbon home that helps save you money and the planet, get in touch today.

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