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Smart EV charging stations for public use.
10 May 2024

What is EV Smart Charging?

EV smart charging is a system that allows users to benefit from additional features that save costs and simplify the EV charging experience.

As the capabilities of electric vehicles have improved, so too has the technology that accompanies them.

Now mandated across all chargers receiving Government grant funding, ‘smart’ charging simply refers to chargers having the capability to send and receive signals. 

This allows chargers to be controlled by a third party, which in the majority cases is an EV charging app.

But beyond this, smart charging allows for a connection between the charger and the local grid, and it means that your charging app can develop more complex commands to send to your charger to keep costs down and energy consumption as low as possible.

But how does that work for end users?

How does EV smart charging work?

For those used to charging with ‘dumb’ chargers, smart charging opens up a whole new level of flexibility and ease.

With smart charging, there’s a range of new features you can take advantage of:

1. Real-time consumption, battery, and cost monitoring

With the charger able to convey data to your choice of charging app, you’re now able to keep track of your battery’s charge, and in some cases real-time statistics on your energy usage.

2. Charge scheduling options

By choosing selected charging apps with this technology, smart charging can allow you to schedule charges to take place between a certain timeframe that suits you. This is esspecially useful when combined with cheaper off-peak electricity tariffs like the Octopus Go, to greatly reduce your cost of charging per night.

3. Optimising off-peak electricity tariffs

One of the real money savers in EV smart charging at home, select EV charging apps will allow you to align charges with the far cheaper off-peak tariffs offered by your energy provider. To learn more about the potential of this feature, check out our CEO’s breakdown of how the feature saved him around £2,000 in a single year.

4. Greater flexibility

By choosing a smart charger, you make things a lot easier for yourself. So long as your smart charger is OCPP compliant, it’ll run with the majority of charging software, to give you access to simple tools that constantly update so that the hardware doesn’t have to.

What is the difference between smart and 'dumb' EV chargers?

‘Dumb’ EV chargers aren’t fitted with internet connection, which means they’re not able to communicate with a third party such as an EV charging app, or management system.

They allow users to plug in and get a charge. And that’s it.

With ‘dumb’ EV chargers, you miss out on valuable extra features and leave your chargers open to use and abuse by third parties by having no command centre needed to start a charge.

Is a smart EV charger worth it?

The short answer in our opinion is yes.

Of course, you can use any charger that is compatible with your vehicle, and you’ll be able to plug in and get on the road.

Investing in a smart charger that’s compatible with OCPP software, you’ll access the ability to making substantial savings in the future without any extra inconvenience. 

New software technology and features are constantly being developed to help make home charging better. Without future-proofing your home charger install by option for a smart EV charger, you risk missing out on potentially game-changing money savers like vehicle-to-grid developments, taking part in demand flexibility schemes, and more.

EV Smart Charging Apps

EV smart charging apps are an essential part of optimising your EV charging. They act as the control centre, if you will, helping to communicate directly with the charger to take advantage of your software’s features.

From the Clenergy EV driver app, you can stop, start, pause and resume a charge, view energy consumption in real-time, schedule charges for a specific time , unlock cables in cases where they’re proving difficult, and more.

 And beyond all of these easy-to-use smart features, some smart charging apps also come with added functionality to help get you charged on the road.

 The Clenergy EV app, for example, comes with access to over 250,000 chargers on the public network across the UK and Europe. That means if you’re ever making a long trip, or stopping to top up, you can direct yourself to the nearest available charge point and plug-in using the app, RFID card (if you prefer), contactless bank card when chargers support it, and/or use Google or Apple pay.

Unlock smart charging solutions