Smart EV Charger Features Explained - We Power Your Car
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Smart EV Charger Features Explained

Smart Electric Vehicle Features Explained

Confused about the difference in home EV chargers and what each feature means?

What’s RFID? What’s Load Balancing? What’s an Earth Rod? It sometimes feels like another language…

But don’t fret! You have come to the right place. In this blog, we will be explaining what is meant by the term smart EV charger and going over some of the key smart charger features out there.

Hypervolt electric vehicle charger

What is a Smart EV Charger? 

According to the government, a smart EV charger is categorized as an electric vehicle charger that has “connectivity”. The EV charger must be able to send and receive messages and be able to manually adjust the rate of charging to fit the electricity flow.

If you are wanting to claim the £350 discount from the OZEV grant, the EV charger you choose must be classed as “Smart”. This is because, with the increase in electric vehicles and their charge points, the government are wanting to protect the grid from draining too much power. By encouraging smart EV car chargers, users will also benefit from the variety of special features. When you use a home smart EV charger, you have the ability to schedule charging, which allows the user to schedule exactly when their EV will charge, for example, overnight when the grid is not in demand. Charge scheduling, therefore, benefits the grid and the home user.

What is a Dumb EV Charger?

A dumb electric vehicle charger is a basic EV charger that simply charges. When you plug the charger into the EV socket, it will start to charge. Once you have finished, you just unplug it. Simple. However, dumb EV chargers do not qualify for the OZEV grant, as the government are encouraging the use of smart chargers to support the grid. A dumb charger cannot be managed manually and does not have any features, therefore, charge scheduling is not possible.

EV Charging App

App

All smart EV chargers should come with their own branded App, available on the Apple App Store and on the Google Store. This is where you will be able to manage the majority of your smart charging point’s features. Different manufacturers have different apps, and usually they are named after their brand name i.e., Hypervolt has their own app, under “Hypervolt”. Most Apps will show real-time energy cost information and extensive charging analytics (such as how much it costs you to charge your EV and what charge percentage the EV is on).

On the App, you will be able to control a number of the chargers’ smart features with just the touch of a button. Let us talk you through a few common features of smart EV charger Apps:

Charge Scheduling

Most smart EV chargers allow you to schedule your charging, and you use your specific manufacturer App to manage the feature. By scheduling exactly when your EV charges, you can charge cheaper. For example,  you can take advantage of your off-peak electricity rates by scheduling your EV charging between these hours. You can also set up multiple schedules at your convenience, such as creating a schedule to fit your commute.

Either way, you can decide exactly how and when you charge without much faff. A lot easier than going to the petrol station – right?

Cable lock

If your charger has the Cable Lock feature, you will be able to lock and unlock your cable through the manufacturer app (if applicable). An example of a smart EV charger that currently offers this feature is the Easee One. This feature ensures your charger is secure and safe from theft. However, this feature will only be on available for socketed or sometimes called “untethered” units. With a tethered electric vehicle charger, the cable is already attached to the unit and, therefore, cannot be removed, so the cable lock feature is not needed.

EV Charging App

Smart Charger Features not specifically related to an App

RFID

RFID means Radio-Frequency Identification and simply put, smart EV chargers with this feature come with a special RFID card that you can use to start and stop your charging sessions. The charger will have a built-in card reader, so you scan your RFID card over the identification area on your charger to start charging. You can then end the charging session by scanning the RFID over the identification area again. However, some chargers will just automatically stop charging once it is fully charged. No internet connection is normally required for this feature. Having a RFID card means that you don’t have to fiddle around with an App, but you are still protected from others using your charger without permission as they will need either the RFID card or the App to start the charging.

Smart Home Integration

If your charger has smart home integration, you will most likely be able to sync your charger with your Amazon Alexa and easily control a variety of features with Alexa voice control. One of the most popular electric vehicle chargers with this feature is the Hypervolt EV charger, where you can control your charging and the brightness of the light indicator with your voice. How fancy is that?

Status Light Indicators

If your smart charger comes with a status light indicator, a light will be positioned typically on the front of the charging box (usually LED), allowing you to get a clearer picture of what is going on with your charging point. For example, if a clear green light is displayed, everything is well with your charger, but if it is red, something is definitely wrong.

Hypervolt Electric Vehicle Charger glowing green on stone wall

Pin Security

If your home smart EV charger has the option of pin security, this feature will provide you with another way to lock your EV charger from any unauthorised use. The charger will require a PIN number to be entered before the unit can be operated and/or a charge is allowed, typically through the App.

Wireless over-the-air updates

If your electric vehicle charger has the free wireless over-the-air software updates feature, it means your charger automatically updates to the latest firmware without having to update the charger yourself or having to call an installer out, benefiting you with new features from the get-go.

Plug & Play/ Plug & Charge

Plug and Play or sometimes called “Plug & Charge”, is where you simply plug the charging gun into your EV and it automatically starts charging; no app, card or code needed.

No Earth Rod

No Earth Rod is not exactly a feature, but it is a benefit. An Earthing Rod is a vertical copper rod inserted into the ground with a black connection box and conduit at the top, which then connects to your home charger. If your chosen EV charger has built-in earthing arrangement, it just means there is no costly groundwork, holes in driveways or additional mess from having to insert a rod/rods. An Earth Rod is not required when the charger has built-in PEN protection (detection + isolation). Having no earth rod is just more aesthetically pleasing to the eye; a number of our chargers including the Hypervolt and the Easee One, do not require earth rods.

Load Balancing/Automated load management

An important safety feature as it prevents overload of your electrical supply. The charger is set to a limit that matches the size of the main incoming supply fuse, it then constantly monitors electricity usage in the home and alters the charge rate to the EV to suit. For instance, if the limit is set to 60A and 40A is used in the home elsewhere then charging to the EV will drop to 20A. This keeps the maximum demand to 60A and prevents the main fuse from blowing and limits the chance of a total loss of power.

Solar Ready

If the electric vehicle charger has the feature of being solar-ready, it means that the unit is compatible with all installations and has built-in solar-compatible software already. No additional add-on purchases are therefore needed! So, as long as you have solar panels on your roof, you can use solar power to charge your EV as soon as the solar EV charger is installed. Using solar energy is also a great way to help support the grid whilst keeping costs down, as solar charging is completely FREE!

Solar Compatible

Solar compatible means that whilst your EV charger can use solar to charge, it doesn’t come as standard, unlike if the unit is Solar Ready. Typically, an add-on purchase is needed for the unit for it to be able to charge. An example of a smart EV charger with an add-on needed for solar is the Zappi EV charger. You will need to purchase either a singular CT clamp to monitor and direct your surplus solar/wind energy into your car, or purchase two CT clamps in order to get full visualisation of how much energy is being produced and where it is going.

my energi zappi EV charger

If you’re looking to make the switch to a dedicated smart home EV charger, browse our exciting range here. Under each smart EV charger, there will be the key features for the unit, including the ones we have just discussed! Or, if you still don’t know where to start, contact us on 03333 44 96 99, our expert customer service team are always happy to help.

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Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.

Spread over a 60 month period.

Also available over 24, 36 and 48 month periods.

We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 12.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.

Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.

Underground cable

We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.

Overhead cable

We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.

Standard Installation
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.

Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.

Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.

What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.

If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.