Confused about the difference in home EV chargers and what each feature means?
What’s an RFID card? What’s load balancing? What’s an earth rod? EV vocabulary sometimes feels like another language.
But don’t fret. You’ve 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.
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.
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.
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, but usually, they are named after their brand name i.e., the Easee’s app is under “Easee.” Most Apps will show real-time energy cost information, extensive charging analytics (such as how much it costs you to charge your EV and what charge percentage the EV is on), and much more.
All smart EV chargers should allow you to schedule your charging according to the new smart charging regulations.
You simply set when exactly you want your EV to charge, i.e. between 1:00 am – 5:00 am, and your EV will automatically start charging (as long as you’re plugged in).
While offering more convenience, there are also a number of other benefits the charge scheduling feature brings. Charge your home EV charger for cheaper by scheduling your charge during off-peak hours, and you’ll get access to a discounted electricity rate due to the decreased demand. Carbon intensity is also at its lowest during these hours, so you’ll also charge greener.
Either way, you can decide exactly how and when you charge without much faff. A lot easier than going to the petrol station – right?
Across the EV charger industry, there are two versions of the cable lock feature.
The first is that your cable lock feature allows you to lock your socketed cable into place, giving it the look and feel of a tethered unit. You won’t be able to remove the charging cable from your unit during this time. It’s important to note this feature will only be on socketed, or sometimes called ‘untethered’ EV chargers, and not on tethered units. Why? Because a tethered unit already has the cable permanently attached to the charger.
The Easee One and the VCHRGD Seven both offer this version of the cable lock feature.
The second version of cable lock allows you to lock your device so no authorised users can plug in and charge. This is an effective feature for those who fear EV charger theft, as it adds an additional security element while you are away from your charger.
RFID means Radio-Frequency Identification, and simply put, smart EV chargers with this feature come with a special RFID card or tag 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 an 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.
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.
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 and Play or sometimes called “Plug & Charge”, is where you simply plug your charging cable into your EV, and it will automatically start charging; no app, card or code needed. This is a useful feature for those who value the no-frills approach.
Dynamic load management prevents overload of your electrical supply and is a useful feature for those who .
Usually, upon your home EV charger installation, your engineer will set a limit that matches the size of the main incoming supply fuse. Your home EV charger 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.
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 a solar PV system, you can use solar power to charge your EV.
Using solar energy is also a great way to help support the grid whilst keeping costs down, as solar charging is completely free.
Solar compatibility 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.
If you’re looking to make the switch to a dedicated smart home EV charger, browse our market-leading range here.
Under each smart EV charger, there will be key features for the unit, including the ones we have just discussed. If you still don’t know where to start, contact us on 03333 44 96 99 or fill in the contact form below. Our expert customer service team are always happy to help.
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This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.
This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.
Spread over a 60 month period.
Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.
You decide the amount of months.
Minimum of £1000.
We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.
Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.
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.
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.
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.
A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation.
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.