Smart charging allows for more efficient and cost-effective management of how electric vehicles (EVs) are charged when connected to the grid. It enables the communication between the charger, the car, the vehicle owner, and the utility company. The relaying of data between these parties allows for optimal charging.
User-managed charging allows the vehicle owner to dictate the time of day when charging can take place. The goal is typically to see the customer enjoy lower tariffs during off-peak periods.
Supplier-managed charging on the other hand allows the utility company to make charging decisions based on a variety of signals. These can include the amount of energy being supplied versus that being consumed. Here the goal is to ensure we never use more energy than is being supplied. The charging load is adjusted according to prevailing conditions. This technology is managed by its operators remotely to achieve the goals of optimal consumption and costing.
What Is a Smart EV Cable?
Smart EV charging cables help to facilitate this process by providing a means by which vehicle owners can remotely control and monitor charging. They can also be set to automatically allow charging when electricity tariffs are at their lowest. This is thanks to the data sharing that charging networks offer. The EV can communicate with suppliers to determine the variable price tariffs and choose when to tap into the cheapest options.
These cables usually work in tandem with phone apps that can be used to check on the progress of charging. The app can also be used to set charge times. Some apps even allow users to estimate their travel times. This can help in having the car charged sufficiently to cover this distance.
Another variation to this is the bi-directional charging cable. These cables allow for electricity to be drawn and returned to the grid. Electricity can flow both ways. Also referred to as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems, it would allow for the grid to source electricity from vehicles during peak periods when demand exceeds supply. In theory, this would work the same if the EV owner uses solar panels to power their vehicle. The EV owner is paid for this supply and helps to flatten the peak in electricity production by utility firms.
Advantages of A Smart EV Cable
The best benefit of using a smart EV cable for the owner is cost-saving. By being able to tap into the grid during the lowest tariff period, the EV owner can spend less on charging their vehicle.
Because this technology allows for the EV owner to designate these automatic settings, there is great convenience achieved. Typically, the lowest tariff period is during night-time hours. Rather than stay up late to plug in their vehicle, they can still plug in but set a specified charge start and end time.
There is a better balance achieved when it comes to energy consumption in the community. By allowing EV owners to take advantage of cheaper off-peak charging times, there is more energy available for other purposes during peak periods. From running of domestic appliances to industrial machinery use, the supply will better meet demand. Utility firms can better predict energy demand and plan future investments for against it.
Power boost technology allows for more efficient distribution of power through the home. When there is a greater need for power for domestic use, smart cables can lower or pause their charging until demand lowers. This ensures that maximum capacity is never exceeded.
In the medium to long term, this technology will help to optimize existing infrastructures as EV use and electricity demands increase. Rather than having to expand or reinforce grids, energy can be more efficiently distributed.
Manufacturers of Smart EV Cables
Using their specially developed ‘brainbox’, Ohme Intelligent charging cables work to identify the cheapest charging periods. The chargers also only charge to the exact amount of charge that is needed, with no wastage. You can also define your own target for charge capacity to be achieved.
It connects with all energy suppliers on the grid with time-of-use tariffs. It also comes with an app that allows you to track the progress of your charging. They offer a choice between an Ohme wall charger and charging cable that both work with Type 1 and Type 2 connectors.
As one of the country’s leading charging network providers, Ubitricity has developed its SmartCable that can be used at any of their charge points. Primarily focused on providing conveniently located charge points in residential areas for homeowners without driveways, their smart EV charging cable is well suited for use during overnight charging.
The cable features an integrated calibrated meter that records all charging events. The EV owner can then be conveniently billed on a monthly basis for this consumption. Users can review their transactions using an app or online. The cable can also be used on other charging provider networks.