According to IEA’s annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is clearly on the rise (with over 10 million units sold in 2022 and a projected increase to 14 million by the end of 2023). Due to this increase in growth, the need for charging solutions that are both efficient, intelligent, and convenient are needed. Smart EV charging, also called intelligent/IQ charging, is a game-changer in the charging industry as it utilizes cloud-based technology and real-time data connectivity. In this blog post, we delve into the concept of ‘Smart Electric Vehicle Charging’, how it works, and the many advantages it provides to EV drivers, businesses, and EV charging networks.
1. Understanding Smart EV Charging
Smart EV charging refers to a system where electric vehicles and charging devices establish a data connection, allowing charging station owners to remotely monitor, manage, and optimize energy consumption. Unlike traditional charging methods, smart charging devices are connected to the cloud, enabling the addition and removal of features, and ensuring future-proof charging solutions that can adapt to evolving demands.
2. How Smart Charging Stations Work
Smart Electric Vehicle charging stations rely on an intelligent back-end solution that gathers real-time data from connected charging devices and charging sessions. These communications are performed using Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) (Latest version – 2.0). With this protocol, different vendors can effortlessly employ their own centralized management system to establish communication with EV Charging Stations. These stations can be managed based on various signals, such as energy production, local electricity consumption, and the number of vehicles being charged.
During a smart charging session, EV drivers can easily identify themselves using a mobile application like Wallbox, myTeison App or RFID tags. The charging session occurs based on the settings and prices defined by the station owner, ensuring a seamless and automated charging experience. Roaming networks enable customers to charge at any station using a single customer account, promoting convenience and accessibility. The below images show an overview of a working mechanism.
3. The Elements of Intelligent Charging
To fully embrace smart Electric Vehicle charging, two key elements need to take into account. One is smart EV charging point devices and the other is smart features of the EV charging platform.
Smart Electric Vehicle Charging Point Devices: To enable effective communication with the charging service, devices used for smart EV charging must have cloud connectivity through technologies like WiFi or Mobile 3G or 4G or higher connectivity. Additionally, standardized socket types such as Type 2, CHAdeMO, or CCS Combo are essential to ensure compatibility with various EV models and fast charging protocols.
Smart Features of the Electric Vehicle Charging Platform: This optimizes the charging experience for operators and EV drivers.
● Real-time monitoring and control enable operators to track charging events, monitor energy consumption, and ensure efficient utilization.
● Integration with payment systems simplifies transactions, enhancing the user experience.
● Data analytics provide valuable insights for infrastructure planning and resource allocation.
● Remote software updates and maintenance keep the network secure and up-to-date. These features improve efficiency, convenience, and sustainability in the EV ecosystem.
4. The Benefits of Intelligent Charging
Smart EV charging offers numerous benefits to EV drivers, businesses, and EV charging networks. Let’s explore some of these advantages:
Benefits to EV Drivers:
- Easy access to available charging stations through mobile apps, enabling real-time information about charging power, price, and station availability.
- Faster charging uses the maximum amount of energy available, ensuring quicker and more efficient charging experiences.
- Enhanced safety through automatic connection testing, monitoring of charging events, and remote control capabilities.
- Avoidance of disputes with neighbours over energy consumption, as smart charging, enables accurate tracking and automated billing.
- Optimizing charging timing to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates can help achieve cost savings and promote environmental protection. Additionally, it can assist in balancing the grid.
Benefits to Businesses:
- Remote monitoring and management of charging events across multiple locations, providing usage statistics and issue reporting.
- Hassle-free billing system, automatically charging customers based on set prices and transferring income to the business.
- Controlled charging events to prevent exceeding the capacity of the local grid and manage electricity consumption effectively.
- Peace of mind, as smart charging, requires minimal attention after installation, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations.
Benefits to EV Charging Networks:
- Grid stabilization through the ability to control charging based on energy production and consumption signals, supporting demand-response initiatives.
- Flexibility and adaptability, as smart charging services located in the cloud can be updated and developed to meet changing needs.
- Easy management of multiple smart EV charging stations, including device grouping, pricing models, and package customization.
- Access to comprehensive overviews of station activities and statistics, ensuring informed decision-making for network operators.