There are many different home electric vehicle (EV) chargers available on the market, and each charger has its unique design, features, and technical specifications. One important technical specification of a home EV charger is smart charging.
In this guide, we will explain what smart charging is, how to use smart charging and the benefits of doing so.
What is smart charging?
You don’t want to get out of bed at midnight to plug in your car. This is where a smart EV charger helps you! A ‘smart’ charger allows you to customise and automatically schedule your car charging according to your needs.
‘Smart’ means the chargers can communicate remotely, which means they can do clever things. It varies between chargers, but these typically include:
- The charger will know the start and end time of the off-peak energy period on your electricity tariff. This means you can tell the charger to only charge during off-peak periods. You can plug in when you get home and know that the charger will only start when electricity prices are lower and end before the peak rates start.
- Track the carbon intensity of the national electricity grid. With some smart chargers, you can set a preference to prioritise your electric vehicle charging when the grid is at its cleanest.
How does smart charging work?
All you need to do is input some details, such as your desired car battery percentage and the preferred time to recharge your car. You can input these details via your mobile device, or some charge points have a user-friendly touch screen.
Once you have inputted these details, your ‘smart’ charger will do the rest. The charger will figure out the best time to charge your car, automatically turning your charger on and off during your desired time period. This means that your electric car will always be ready to get on the road while using greener and often cheaper electricity.
The good news is that all our chargers at Rightcharge are ‘smart chargers’.You can use our simple charger comparison tool to find the best EV charger to suit your needs, preferences and budget.
What are the benefits of smart charging?
The main benefits of using smart EV charging features are:
- Saving you money when charging your electric vehicle
- Reducing carbon emissions when you schedule your car charging
- A more convenient way to charge your car
Why is smart charging more convenient, affordable and environmentally friendly?
Let’s have a look at the benefits of smart charging in detail.
Smart charging is incredibly convenient, as you can schedule your EV charger to turn charging power on and off automatically, so you don’t have to worry about plugging and unplugging your electric vehicle.
You can even set the time that you want your car to be fully charged in the morning using your mobile device, and the charger will calculate the best time to start and stop your charging to minimise your cost.
You may be wondering how scheduling your charging minimises your charging costs. Well with smart charging devices you can easily schedule your home charging to take advantage of off-peak periods. Off-peak periods are certain times of the day when electricity demand is reduced and often cheaper this is often during the evening. You can enter the time that you want your car to be fully charged. The smart EV charger will then calculate when the off-peak periods are and the best time to start and stop your car charging to help minimise your charging costs.
These off-peak periods of electricity usage usually coincide with when the UK’s national power grid is generating more electricity from renewable energy sources. Therefore charging your car during off-peak periods can also help reduce carbon emissions. In addition, electricity is usually cheaper during off-peak periods. This means that you can charge your car during times which are more environmentally friendly and often at a lower cost.
Overall, smart chargers are a great way to save money, reduce your carbon emissions, and make your life more convenient when charging your car.
All our charge points are ‘smart’. Use our charger comparison tool now to find the right charger for you!
As discussed above, using a smart home charger can allow you to take advantage of off-peak periods. However, to access cheaper rates during off-peak hours you will need to switch to an EV-friendly tariff.
Recharging electric vehicles with electricity at home is much cheaper than refuelling with petrol or diesel but you will be using more electricity. So, it more than often justifies a switch of energy tariff in order to save as much as possible. The right charge point and energy tariff can save the average driver an average £400 per year.
If you can charge at home overnight, ‘EV Tariffs’ (designed specifically for electric vehicle drivers) are often the cheapest and cleanest way to do it.
A number of energy companies and suppliers have developed EV Tariffs. These tariffs usually have an electricity rate for peak and off-peak hours.
Some EV tariffs even allow you to apply these cheaper off-peak rates to all of the energy consumption in your household, not just for your EV charging. Saving you even more money!
Car charging time with a smart charger
The speed at which your car charges with smart charging doesn’t differ much compared to when you usually charge your car with a home EV charge point. The speed will depend on the power source of your EV charger. Typically, the power output of most home EV chargers are 7kW chargers which allow for your car to be charged three times as fast compared to a three-pin plug.
However, the time frame in which your car charges may differ based on your preferred charging schedule. However, this schedule is completely up to you. Once you schedule your charging and plug in your EV your car will be recharged to your desired charging amount by the end of the time frame.
Home EV charger FAQs
How much electricity does a home EV charger use?
The average driver in the UK drives around 7,400 miles and uses around 2,000 kWh of electricity to charge their car.
Why should I use an EV-friendly tariff instead of a standard variable tariff?
An EV-friendly tariff can help you save money on your electricity bill as it is specifically designed for electric vehicle drivers.
However, a standard variable tariff will charge you the same amount for both your car and household and will not give you access to cheaper rates and cleaner electricity during off-peak hours.
What if I have solar panels?
If you have solar panels installed at your home you can still benefit from smart charging.
EV smart charging is the ability to schedule your car charging to start at the cheaper or cleanest times. Switching to a home energy tariff which is designed for electric car drivers, gives you access to cheap off-peak periods, known as EV-friendly tariffs. These off-peak periods, when energy demand is reduced, usually coincide with when the UK’s electricity grid is using the most renewable energy and therefore is cleanest.
Our helpful team of EV experts are only a click away if you have any questions about EV home charging. Email us at email@example.com.