When it comes to charging electric vehicles (EVs), DC charging is the best bet for businesses that want to provide fast, high-power charging to a range of customers. However, having a higher power output is not the only feature of DC charging. In fact, there are a number of features that make both AC and DC charging easier for businesses and customers to utilize. This is where smart charging comes in.
What is smart charging?
Smart charging includes all features that optimize EV charging infrastructure and minimize the load impact (demand for electricity) of EVs. Smart charging works by controlling the power, timing, and direction of individual charging sessions, and takes into account customer and vehicle needs, infrastructure limitations, renewable energy generation, electricity costs, grid conditions, and ancillary grid service markets.
Essentially, the goal of smart charging is to distribute power accordingly between charging stations and/or between a cluster of charging stations and a location.
A (load) balancing act
In smart charging terms, there are two ways to categorize the distribution of power: cluster load balancing and dynamic load balancing. You can also think of this as power-sharing.
Cluster load balancing refers to the power that is distributed between charging stations. The total available power at a location dedicated to EV charging has already been manually set via OCPP. So, it’s easier to think of this as power distribution at the station level.
Dynamic load balancing can be considered as the level above cluster load balancing as the power set aside for EV charging is automatically adjusted based upon the total power usage at a location. Essentially, the automatic adjustment happens as power flows from the grid to a location that includes a cluster of charging stations and other appliances as well.
Businesses should be aware of the impact of load balancing as both options allow locations to more efficiently use and distribute power depending on a business's priorities. Plus, the balancing acts that take place at either station or location level help businesses avoid costly grid upgrades, make more power available for EV charging as they see fit, and reduce overall electricity costs.
Simultaneous charging is also a smart charging feature and something that relies heavily on load balancing to be successful. Simultaneous charging isn’t just applicable to DC charging either. Some charging stations allow AC Type 2 sockets to be used while also offering DC charging via CCS or CHAdeMO. The AC and DC sockets don’t share the same components as AC charging uses the EV’s onboard charger.
Load balancing and simultaneous charging will greatly benefit businesses operating and managing fleet depots, fast charging hubs (such as highway stops), and workplace parking spots.
As EV adoption increases, so will the demand for EV charging: smart charging features are the reason that businesses and customers can make the most of electric mobility in a way that is efficient for everyone.
Taking the power back (to the grid)
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology allows energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an EV. With this technology, an EV's battery can be charged and discharged based on different signals, such as energy production or consumption nearby.
V2G technology will be particularly important for fleet depots and workplaces that operate with lots of vehicles. With potentially hundreds of vehicles acting as external battery storage, a variety of locations can rest assured that power will still be available in the circumstances where the grid could become overwhelmed.
What does smart charging mean for businesses?
If you’re a business looking to invest in EV charging—either as a service or incorporating EV charging into your existing operation—then smart charging is something that you need to be aware of. Right now, it’s smart charging features facilitated by next-generation charging stations that give EV drivers around the world the confidence to choose your location for EV charging.
Smart charging for smart businesses
We provide a range of charging stations that make the most of smart charging for businesses around the world. For a complete list of tech specs and use cases, as well as more information, take a look at our portfolio of DC charging stations designed for every business looking to electrify its operation.