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Is your SMART charging, really SMART?

Date – 26th Jan 2021

Save Money and Frustration While Helping to Save the Environment

Electrification of the UK transportation system is on the way and SMART charging can help ensure that both consumers and the nation benefit from this transition. The recent Road to Zero initiative announcement by the government mandates 100% of car and van sales to be electric by 2030, effectively banning all sales of petrol vehicles after that date. If you have purchased an electric vehicle (EV) or are considering buying one, chances are you are concerned about the onslaught of climate change and local pollution. But did you know that not all-electric vehicle charging solutions are created equal when it comes to not only helping the environment but also to technology and cost savings?

What is Dumb Charging?

Dumb charging is charging your car when you get home and leaving it plugged in charging overnight. You have no control over how much you are spending to charge your vehicle and are most likely paying peak tariffs. Or it can mean forgetting to charge your car overnight and getting up in the morning only to realize that you don’t have enough charge to get to work or another destination (or worrying that you may run out of charge along the way). Eighty percent of today’s charging is on-demand, leading to uncapped charge bills and inefficient usage, not only for consumers but also for the National Grid. In the UK, the National Grid is estimated to spend £3 billion per year in uncontrolled charging.

Then What is SMART Charging?

Currently, there are applications that can help you turn your charging experience from dumb to SMART. SMART charging apps allow you to schedule your charge, control the amount of electricity used per hour, and sync your calendar to ensure that you have the amount of charge you need to get to your destination, all at the lowest cost.

 

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SMART charging enables your electric vehicle’s charging to take advantage of Energy Suppliers’ time-based discount pricing with little effort on your part. Power companies offer off-peak discount pricing to entice consumers to use electricity when demand is low. This practice benefits customers with lower prices and saves the power companies from having to create new, expensive power infrastructure to meet peak power demands. As electric vehicles become increasingly popular and more people are charging their vehicles, the old way of on-demand charging will overwhelm the National Grid.

SMART charging can also incorporate your personal or business calendar to include your destinations, and it can determine how much charge to add at various locations along the way to minimize your cost. SMART charging will also review your calendar to ensure you have enough charge to reach your destination or warn you when you will not. More importantly, it will not charge your car when you are not planning to travel. One of the fundamental differences between petroleum-based cars and electric cars is energy storage management. Petrol or diesel cars simply store the liquid in their tanks and the amount does not change until used. Electric cars with batteries work quite differently and need to be carefully managed to maximise battery life and minimise unnecessary charging costs. The lithium-ion cells in the battery packs of most modern electric cars don’t like to be kept at a full state of charge or a very low state of charge for long periods of time. 

(https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1127610_keep-your-parked-electric-car-and-its-battery-healthy-with-these-simple-tips ) 

Batteries also do not like getting too hot or cold so manufacturers have added cooling and heating systems that can drain them when not in use. SMART charging can manage these complexities for you by integrating your car’s battery requirements with your calendar travel plans or your pre-set charging goals. Drivers of electric vehicles around the world found out that the Coronavirus crisis has severely disrupted our usual driving patterns and necessitated more charging management intervention. SMART charging can handle these issues transparently for electric vehicle drivers.

Where Does Charging Occur and How Much Can SMART Charging Save Me?

Eighty percent of electric vehicle battery charging takes place at home, where drivers have charging points installed in their garages or driveways.

 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/818810/electric-vehicle-charging-in-residential-and-non-residential-buildings.pdf)

When these drivers take advantage of SMART charging, they can realise substantial savings. For example, a consumer charging at home using SMART charging could pay 5p/kWh (5 pence per kilowatt hour) for off-peak charging versus the standard rate of 20p/kWh. Charging a 50kWh car battery can cost you as little as about £2.5 or up to £10 by just changing the time you charge. So, by taking advantage of SMART charging during off-peak hours, you can save up to 75% on your charging costs. All you need to do is set up a charging app once, plug in your car when you get home, and you are done. Your SMART charging app will charge your car at the most economical time, typically while you sleep.

Work is the second most common car battery charging location — 12% happens at work, where the cost of recharging is quite similar to what happens at home, only usually more expensive. Typical cost spread is from 7p/kWh to 30p/kWh. In the prior example of an empty 50kWh battery the costs could range from £3.5 to £15, depending on when you are charging.

The remaining charging occurs en route or at a destination when drivers need enough additional charge to finish a road trip. This type of re-charging can get very expensive. Rates vary greatly but seem to be clustered from 25p/kWh to 50p/kWh, which results in charges from £12.5 to £25.

In the UK, you will find more and more public charging points popping up over time. Many supermarkets and shops have chargers free to use while you shop; for example, TESCO installed 402 charge points at 200 stores. (Also, there are public charging points that are not free so the vast majority of EV drivers have an EV charging point installed at their home). According to https://www.edfenergy.com/electric-cars/charging-points, there are currently 30,000 charge points in the UK for public use across 11,000 locations. This means there are more public charging points than petrol stations, with 10,000 charge points added in 2019 alone. Clearly, electric vehicles are not only the way of the future, but they are already the way of the present.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles (AEV) Act of 2018 requires new charge points to be SMART. ( https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/18/enacted ). Also, on December 4th, 2020, the House of Commons released Briefing Paper CBP07480 on electric vehicles and infrastructure. (https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7480/ ) 

They emphasized an expected, massive increase in number of electric vehicles in the UK. Projections indicate approximately 7 million electric cars by 2030 and as many as 36 million by 2040. The environment will benefit from the reduction in air pollution and carbon emissions, and consumers will save on travel costs per mile. However, the resulting electricity demand increase will put a significant strain on the National Grid.

SMART charging will help reduce the expected increase in electricity demand by rewarding consumers who use SMART charging to allow their cars to charge during off-peak rates and not charge when it’s not necessary. This is a win-win scenario with power companies saving money by not having to build expensive new infrastructure to support peak usage and consumers not having to pay for more charge than they need.

The very nature of EV charging continues to evolve, with technologies emerging that are likely to have a significant impact on SMART charge points, and the future of SMART charging more generally. One of the most creative plans is the Vehicle to Grid (V2G) innovation where vehicles can provide power back to the grid or directly to homes and businesses. This new technology is now being tested in the UK. Think of the future potential for the grid with as many as 36 million batteries in cars ready to help conquer grid strain by transferring power back to the grid at peak usage. Think of the potential benefits for your pocketbook, the National Grid, and the environment.

For example, you get home at night and plug in your car. You go to sleep, and your SMART charging app starts charging your car during the low off-peak rate. Your SMART app then reviews your driving calendar for the next day and peak usage pricing. The next day you decide to watch a few football games. While you are watching, your SMART app is at work selling back the electricity it stored to the grid at peak pricing, while still reserving enough electricity to meet your calendared travelling needs. Simply put, your SMART app made you money while you slept and watched football. It is also important that power companies saved money by using stored battery power instead of creating more at expensive peak times and having to build the infrastructure to support peak demand. Lastly, the environment benefits by not having as much power generated but stored until needed, combating local and global climate change.

Cheaper. Cleaner. Smarter. The Electric Miles Way of Intelligent Charging

Electric Miles is the only full-service electric vehicle charging software in the current market, enabling its users to charge in the SMARTest way. The Electric Miles app allows you to fully control your charging experience to ensure that you always have enough charge in your vehicle and at the lowest possible price. The Electric Miles app saves users money and from unnecessary stress by allowing them to schedule their charging during off peak tariff times, sync to their calendar, and control the number of kilowatts per hour to charge.

Electric Miles Intelli-charge control philosophy combines an EV driver’s energy need; the EV state of charge; and historical and forecast energy consumption to select and automatically control the rate and time of charging considering price, environmental, and payment and billing signals. This approach allows EM to influence, reward, or incentivise individual energy actors (suppliers, users, chargers etc.) for charge actions that benefit other individual actors in the network, thereby ensuring users gain from their energy activity. The below diagram as part of the EV Energy Taskforce depicts how SMART Charging Architecture will need to function to interact with all the main actors of the EV Energy ecosystem.


The app also allows users to view their charging history, including useful stats on the amount of energy used, amount of carbon saved, and most importantly, how much money they saved. Electric Miles is also one of the first SMART charging companies to have secured 8 megawatts of Demand Side Response Energy Flexibility using electric vehicle assets. Electric Miles is going to start trials in 2021, offering EV owners in certain congested postcodes the opportunity to participate in a V2G test using our platform. In simpler terms, the Electric Miles app when paired with your charger will enable you to use your electric car as an energy source and participate in V2G benefiting your pocketbook, the National Grid, and the environment. Start your journey with Electric Miles at https://www.electricmiles.io .