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How to save money with smart EV charging

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Discover how to save money and protect Northern Ireland’s electricity network with EV smart charging.

Article Contents 

  • Smart charging basics
    • What is EV smart charging?
    • How does EV smart charging work?
  • Ways EV smart charging can save you money
  • How to get started with EV smart charging
    • Smart charging essential requirements 
    • Smart charging additional extras 
    • How to smart charge electric vehicles 
  • FAQs
  • Smart charging with Power NI 
 

Smart charging basics 

 

What is EV smart charging?

EV smart charging is when technology is used to make sure electric vehicles are charged during off-peak periods. This usually means overnight or when there is lots of renewable energy available in the network. EV smart charging helps to ease the strain on the electricity network during peak periods and is usually rewarded with cheaper electricity.

Regular EV charging usually involves plugging your electric car in to charge for the next day. For most people this means when you arrive home in the evening, just as other people are switching on ovens, kettles and their own EV chargers after returning home. This creates extra demand during peak periods. With smart charging technology, EV charging is delivered at convenient, off-peak times.

How does EV smart charging work?

EV smart charging uses smart chargers, apps or the vehicle’s own charging system to plan charging for off-peak times. 

You can adjust your charging preferences to get exactly what you need from your smart charger and make sure your EV has the level of charge you need for your next journey. This could include: 

  • EV charge level: Setting your smart charger to charge your EV to a particular charge level. Alternatively, you could set your smart charger to prevent your EV from falling below a minimum charge level.

  • EV charge time: You can set your smart charger to charge for a specific length of time, which will give you total control over costs. You can also confirm the time that you want your charge to be completed by, so you’ll know your EV will be ready when you next need it.
     

How smart EV charging can save you money

There are a host of benefits to smart EV charging. The most important of these is that it can save you money on electricity. If you’re currently trying to cut your electricity costs, smart EV charging can help you to achieve that. Let’s look at how it does that.

Dynamic load management 
Smart EV chargers like the Power NI home electric car charger come with dynamic load management. This means they automatically stop charging when you’re using a lot of electricity for other things. If you switch on an electric shower or oven, a smart charger will pause your charge. This avoids the expense of upgrading your consumer unit to cope with high load.

Cheaper energy tariffs
Smart EV charging saves electricity companies from the costly problems that arise if demand is greater than electricity supply during peak periods. That means we’re able to reward you for smart charging overnight during off-peak times. For example, our electric vehicle tariffs reduce the cost of charging your electric vehicle at home and use 100% renewable electricity.

Manage electricity consumption via app
Smart charging stations come with apps that give you useful information on your energy consumption and costs. You'll be able to see exactly how much it costs to fully charge your electric car — and make any necessary changes to your charging habits to reduce costs. For example, the EO Smart Home app — which links to the Power NI home electric car charger — helps you to monitor usage as well as starting, stopping and scheduling your charging sessions.

 

Getting started with smart EV charging

It’s really simple to get started with smart EV charging. There are just a few essentials you will need to get up and running. You might also choose from some of the optional extras that will help you to maximise the financial savings and convenience of smart charging.

Essential Requirements: 

  • Off-street parking - Smart charging depends on charging your electric vehicle overnight. To do that you’ll need a space where it’s safe to leave your EV on charge.

  • Internet connection - The connectivity associated with smart charging — the ‘smart’ element — needs an internet connection to work correctly.

  • EV smart charger - Crucially, you will also need an EV smart charger. This is a charging station that’s equipped with the technology to support smart charging.

Additional Extras:

  • Smartphone - The convenience and insights that come from having your smart charger app in the palm of your hand are invaluable. You’ll be able to plan ahead and react quickly using the tools on your phone.

  • Smart meter - A smart meter improves the precision of data on your electricity use. Installing a smart meter will help to ensure you’re charged correctly for using off-peak electricity.

  • EV electricity tariff - EV tariffs are tailored to help you get more from your smart charging. It’s worth switching to a tariff that will reduce your charging costs.
     

How to smart charge electric vehicles 

Smart charging electric vehicles is incredibly straightforward. If you’re already familiar with charging EVs, a smart charger only makes the process more convenient.

Step 1. 
Use the EO Smart Home app to set your charge-by time and the level of charge you want. You can also do this on the charger itself if you prefer.

Step 2.
Your Power NI EO Mini Pro 2 smart charger will automatically schedule the best time to achieve the charge you need when electricity demand and the cost to you will both be lowest.

Step 3. 
Plug your electric vehicle into the smart charger, just as you would with any other EV charger. You can then leave it plugged in overnight.

Step 4.
Your EV will start charging at the time you’ve specified or the time the smart charger has identified will best meet your preferences. If you happen to use the shower, oven or another energy-hungry appliance while the charge is underway, your smart charger will simply pause and resume charging when the electricity demand has dropped.

Step 5.
Return to your EV to find the charge level you’ve specified achieved for the lowest cost. Repeat the process when you next need to charge your vehicle.

 

Smart EV Charging FAQs  

Are there any grants or funding available for smart EV chargers in Northern Ireland?
At the time of writing, grants to install smart EV chargers in Northern Ireland are only available if you live in a flat, live in a rental property or are a landlord. See the latest plug-in vehicle grants.

Can I benefit from smart EV charging if I don't have off-street parking?
It’s unlikely you’ll currently be able to benefit from smart EV charging if you don’t have off-street parking. Smart charging means leaving your EV connected to a smart charger overnight, and that’s not something that can be done safely and securely in most on-street parking spaces.

Can electric cars charge themselves?
More or less. You’ll still have to set the schedule parameters and actually plug the charger into your electric car. After that, your car and your smart charger can pretty much handle the charging process by themselves.

Are there other charging options for electric cars?
Yes, you can continue to just plug your car into a regular EV charger at the times you want it to charge. This could be a home charger or a public charger. Smart charging is just a more cost-effective and convenient way of charging electric vehicles.

Is EV bidirectional charging the same as EV smart charging?
EV bidirectional charging is the same as the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-home (V2H) technology. It means exporting energy from your electric vehicle as well as charging it. As such, it’s not the same as EV charging so much as an aspect and potential next step of smart charging. Bidirectional charging is not yet widely available but it is on its way.

 

Smart charging with Power NI

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy the benefits and convenience of smart charging in Northern Ireland. That’s why we support you with everything you need to get up and running. From supplying and installing your smart charger to providing EV tariffs that help you to make the most of smart charging, we’re with you every step of the way. See how that would work for you.