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      ● March 28, 2023

      What is a Smart EV charger?

      Electric vehicle chargers are becoming more sophisticated as manufacturers seek to make EV charging easier and more cost-effective for homes and businesses. Smart EV chargers allow automatic charging to occur when electricity prices are low or when solar power is being generated. Regular home chargers can draw a lot of power so intelligent monitoring and controls help prevent overloading the grid supply.In addition to helping optimize EV charging, most smart chargers now have Wifi and Bluetooth as standard to enable easy setup and monitoring using a mobile app.

      Smart EV Charging Modes

      Smart EV chargers have numerous options to optimize charging, reduce charging costs and increase self-sufficiency using solar. The most common is solar-only charging and charge scheduling using cheap off-peak electricity. Another very useful smart charging mode is Load Balancing; this is where the charge rate is dynamically adjusted to ensure the charger doesn’t overload and trip off the electric supply when other high-power appliances (loads) are running.Load-balancing is very important if more than one EV charger is installed or the electricity supply is limited.

      Is extra hardware needed for smart charging?

      Smart charging modes can only be enabled if the EV charger can obtain data about a solar generation or other electricity-consuming loads. Generally, to monitor the solar and loads, external sensors or CT clamps are needed to gather and transmit the data back to the charger.Alternatively, EV chargers that are OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) compliant can be configured for remote control using external software such as Charge HQ. No external meters or hardware is required if all the equipment is compatible with OCPP. We’ll explain this in more detail later.

      Solar Charging

      EV charging using a home solar system appeals to many people as it dramatically reduces the vehicle's operating cost and increases self-sufficiency. However, this is difficult if you cannot optimize the charging rate to match your solar generation. For example, many level-2 home chargers have a maximum charging rate of 7.4kW, but most residential solar inverters are rated at 5kW or 7kW, and the amount of solar being generated may be far less, especially during poor weather. Luckily, this is where smart EV chargers can help.Unlike regular EV chargers, which are set at a fixed charge level, Smart EV chargers can adjust the charge rate to match your solar generation. However, to operate, smart chargers require a separate CT meter to measure energy flow and enable advanced features such as solar-only charging and load balancing. In most cases, the CT meter must be hardwired to the charger, but CT meters from a select few brands can be wirelessly connected.


      EV chargers use a lot of power which can cause issues for some homes or businesses if too much power is drawn from the grid. Fortunately, this is where load-balancing can help. This feature is available on most smart chargers and is particularly useful for households with a limited grid supply or businesses with multiple Best EV chargers in Australia installed.How it works; Load balancing enables an EV to charge at the maximum rate, up to 7.4kW on a single-phase supply, when the consumption rate is low. However, if household consumption increases, the EV charge rate will drop automatically so as not to trip the grid's main supply circuit. This is very useful for homes or businesses with more than one EV charger as it prevents overloading or tripping the main grid supply when multiple EVs are being charged simultaneously.For load-balancing to work, an external energy meter called a CT meter is required to measure electricity flow to and from the home or business. Smart chargers use the CT meter data to adjust the charging rate dynamically and optimize charging.

      Scheduled charging

      To reduce EV charging costs, most smart EV charger chargers can be set to charge when the electricity rates are low. The cheapest (off-peak) rates are generally during the night when most people are sleeping, so a pre-set off-peak charging schedule can automatically charge the EV overnight.Electricity demand is at its highest during the evening, which is also when electricity tariffs are typically very high. EV charging during these periods costs you more and places a greater strain on the electricity network, which can already be stretched to its limits during extreme heat waves.
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