There are multiple ways to charge your electric vehicle – via a three-pin plug, with a dedicated home EV charger and/or rapid/ultra-rapid public EV chargers. And if you’re new to the world of electric vehicle charging, you may be wondering – what is a smart EV charger, and do I need a smart EV charger?
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about smart electric vehicle chargers.
A smart electric vehicle charger is a charging unit with smart functionality. Smart functionality comes in different formats and different definitions. However, the most common definition is that there’s communication between your EV, your smart charger and the electricity grid. Typically, this line of communication is via a Wi-Fi signal or a 3G/4G/5G connection.
But it’s important to note that there are various levels of smart EV charger functionality.
Technically, all commercial, workplace and home electric vehicle chargers sold in the UK need to be smart due to the Smart Charging Regulations 2021. So, if you are wanting to invest in a charger, you do legally need a smart EV charger. Although the benefits of smart EV chargers speak for themselves (smart charging saves you up to £1000 a year). Meaning while you have to have a smart EV charger, it’s likely you would have opted for one anyway.
When understanding smart electric vehicle charging, it’s important to note that there’s a spectrum as to how smart an electric vehicle charger legally has to be and how smart some can be.
As a minimum, your smart charger may just meet the requirements of government regulations. Basic features such as charge scheduling (where you can set exactly when your EV automatically charges, i.e. 10 pm-2 pm) have to be included as standard.
At the mid to advanced range, electric vehicle chargers may offer a variety of different smart features that surpass the standard unit. Chargers with the solar-ready feature allow you to use surplus energy from your solar PV system to top up your EV. Other chargers may offer RFID card compatibility, whereby you can start and stop charging with a few taps of an RFID card.
The crème de le crème of smart chargers may even be versed in the art of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) charging, whereby you can send energy from your EV battery back to the grid. However, this piece of technology is in its infancy, so this is not common by any means in 2023.
Below are eight benefits of investing in a smart electric car charger:
Say goodbye to the days of long queues at public charging stations and messy three-pin plug wires. Since a smart EV charger is installed on your property, you can charge whenever you want from the comfort of your own home, promising easy and convenient charging sessions.
Or, for even more convenient charging sessions – set your EV to charge exactly when you want, and as long as you’re plugged in, your EV will automatically start charging – you’ll barely have to lift a finger.
2. Faster charging
Smart home EV chargers are typically rated at 7kW, compared to three-pin plug EV charging rated at approximately 2kW. With these dedicated smart EV charging stations, you can charge three times faster than with a three-pin plug.
Some chargers (although not all) offer added security and safety features. For example, the VCHRGD Seven and the Easee One home chargers offer the cable lock feature, which allows you to lock your EV charging cable in place, offering the original flexibility of a socketed charger but also the temporary look, feel, and security of a tethered unit at the touch of a button.
What’s more, some electric vehicle chargers have an added safety element with the dynamic load balancing feature. If you’re using multiple electrical household appliances – think washing machine, TV, microwave – at the same time, you may overload your circuit, and if you add charging an electric vehicle into the equation, then there’s the possibility of blowing the fuse. The load balancing feature ensures that circuits are not overloaded by balancing your electrical demand.
All smart electric vehicle chargers will have the charge scheduling feature – where you can set when exactly your electric vehicle charger will charge your EV. On the surface, you may be wondering how this equates to cheaper charging, but it’s all about scheduling your EV during off-peak hours to reap cost savings.
Off-peak hours are typically between 11 pm-5:30 am, and because the demand for electricity during this time period is lowest, it’s also when energy prices plummet. Set your EV to charge during these hours, and you’ll gain significant financial benefits from doing so. In fact, according to the UK government, users who take advantage of smart electric vehicle charging can save up to £1000 a year.
On top of this, certain smart electric vehicle chargers offer intelligent tariff integration, where you can sync your energy tariff with your home charger, automatically charging at the cheapest times available to you. For example, the Ohme Home Pro can collaborate with different energy tariffs, including the sought-after Intelligent Octopus tariff.
Further to our previous point, not only is charging during these off-peak hours cheaper, but it’s also greener than charging during peak times. This is because electricity is generated from more renewable energy sources during these off-peak hours, such as wind and solar, instead of other carbon-intensive methods.
Additionally, certain home electric car chargers have different charging modes and can work with your solar PV energy system. The Zappi smart EV charger has solar compatibility, so you can top-up your EV with free solar energy.
Smart EV chargers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, meaning unlike unsightly three-pin plug EV charging, you can invest in a stylish, unobtrusive smart unit that parallels your home aesthetic.
With the increase in electric vehicles in the UK, more strain is being put on the electricity grid. And while it’s promised that the UK grid will be able to handle the surge in demand as EV adoption continues to grow, smart charging in the UK helps to support the transition and the grid by encouraging charging when energy demand is low.
Consistently using rapid and ultra-rapid public EV chargers with high charging rates can damage your battery and encourage premature battery degradation. So, by investing in a smart EV charger at home, EV drivers won’t have to rely on these public chargers and can charge with the recommended kilowatt rating. What’s more, it’s easier to maintain a balanced charging rate of between 20%-80% to ensure a healthy battery when you have the luxury of a home EV charger.
If you’re interested in a smart home EV charger, feel free to contact us at 03333 44 96 99 or fill in the contact form below. With a range of the best smart chargers on the market, we can ensure we find your perfect charging match by providing unbiased advice and honest opinions.
Enter your information below, and one of our expert advisors will be in touch shortly.
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.