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Infrastructure | Smart charging | Residential

Smart EV home charging: Dynamic load balancing explained

June 17, 2022 | Kristof Tüzes and Wesley Van Barlingen

As societies around the world shift to electric mobility, more and more people are discovering the benefits of driving electric and the comfort of charging a car while it is parked. According to our research, over 67 percent of EV drivers currently charge their electric vehicle at home, and why shouldn’t they? Charging a car while it’s in the driveway is cheaper, easier and more convenient than searching for a public charger.

Regulating the power supply, however, is a different story. EV charging is a high energy application that can quickly put an electrical circuit under strain if not managed properly. Luckily, there are a number of smart EV charging solutions available to help optimize energy demand (and your electricity bill). One such feature for the home is dynamic load balancing. This article will explain everything you need to know about dynamic load balancing at home, including what it is and how it works.

A woman is leaned on a wall inside a house. She is setting some smart functionalities to manage her home's appliances with a tablet.

Avoid power overload

To understand what dynamic load balancing does, it’s helpful to first look at the problem it seeks to address. While you may not think about it in everyday use, electric circuits have a limited capacity and can get overloaded if too much power is drawn. 

To protect circuits from overloading, the electrical supply in a home is fitted with circuit breakers, which will cut power if energy use exceeds safe levels. You might have experienced a circuit breaker tripping if you had multiple high-energy appliances working at the same time, such as an oven, dishwasher, and washing machine. 

Of course, power can be restored by reducing the load on the grid, for example by turning off some appliances, but having to do so is inconvenient and disruptive. This is where dynamic load balancing comes in: by monitoring power loads on your circuit, it can intelligently allocate the available capacity to appliances that need it the most, allowing them to run simultaneously without overloading the circuit. 

A closeup of a person who is working with electric wiring, testing them.

How much power do you need to charge an electric car?

So why would you want dynamic load balancing for electric car charging? Well, electric vehicles are highly energy-intensive: a dedicated home charger can deliver between 7,400 up to 22,000 watts (W) of power to an EV. By comparison, a dishwasher uses between 1,050 W and 1,500 W

On average, the energy consumption of an EV is 200 Wh per kilometer. Taking the average 4,529 kilometers per year driven in Europe, or 12.41 kilometers a day, an electric car consumes 2.48 kWh of electricity per day. That’s roughly the equivalent of running your oven for an hour every day. In an average month, this means that charging your EV will add an extra 74.46 kWh to your home’s electricity consumption. With the 2021 average EU electricity price of 23.69 euro cents, that would add about €18 per month to your home’s electricity bill.

Disclaimer: These numbers differ based on individual situations and driving behavior and are meant to give a ballpark estimate of energy usage and costs and are not meant to reflect a real-life situation.

Do you need to upgrade your power supply when installing a home charging station?

Clearly, installing an EV charger adds a considerable load to your home’s electrical circuit. Simply connecting a charger to your existing power connection may not be enough if it is not equipped to handle the additional power load. In those cases, you might need to upgrade to a higher-capacity power connection.

Upgrading your power connection allows it to handle more heavy loads, enabling you to use multiple high-power appliances at the same time without tripping your breakers. However, it may be expensive as it requires installation by an electrician and, in some cases, permits by local authorities.

Dynamic load balancing can prevent the need to upgrade your power supply by monitoring the loads on your circuit and adjusting the power drawn by your EV to ensure it never uses more than a safe maximum.

A closeup of a hand switching off the electricity power from a meter box.

How does dynamic load balancing work?

Dynamic load balancing is a feature that constantly monitors changes in energy use on your circuit and automatically allocates the available capacity to different appliances. It balances the energy used and adjusts the charging output to your EV in response to changes in electricity load. 

For example, if a washer, a dryer, and a car are connected at the same time, dynamic load balancing may decide to stop or slow the charging process of the car to free up capacity for the other appliances. Once they are switched off, the charger resumes or increases the EV’s charging speed. 

This also applies if you own multiple electric cars and charge them from the same electrical circuit. In that case, dynamic load balancing automatically distributes the available energy between the two vehicles or prioritizes one of the cars based on your preferences. In the second scenario, dynamic load balancing will direct more power to one of the cars, while slowing or stopping charging for the other one until more energy becomes available.

Not all smart charging stations are equipped with dynamic load balancing, but thanks to their ability to connect to the internet, many can be upgraded at a later stage. Still, considering the benefits of dynamic load balancing for maximizing your home’s electricity use, it is a feature worth thinking about when looking for a charging station.

A closeup of a person in a kitchen who is managing the house's smart appliances with a tablet.

Benefits of Dynamic Load Balancing

No overloading

Dynamic load balancing automatically adapts energy use from your charger to ensure it never exceeds a safe maximum and doesn’t overload your home’s electrical circuit.

No meter box adjustments

You can keep using your existing power connection, as dynamic load balancing will intelligently allocate your existing capacity between users and loads. This avoids having to install a new meter and more powerful circuit, saving considerably on the costs of a new charger.

Responsive charging speed 

The speed and power at which your car charges are automatically adjusted by dynamic load balancing depending on the energy used at your location. 

A closeup of a woman connecting the charging plug to an electric car while looking at her smartphone.

Charging flexibility

With dynamic load balancing, you can decide when to charge your EV without worrying about overloading your home, even during peak hours. If you have two or more EVs, you can decide which one to prioritize to charge it faster than the others.

Electricity management

An EV charger equipped with dynamic load balancing can help monitor the power used in your home, allowing you to track electricity consumption and adapt the EV charging current based on your preferences.

A closeup of a man looking at some electricity bills while doing calculations with a calculator. Two seemingly empty light bulbs are laying on the paper.

Among the many different smart charging features, dynamic load balancing is a powerful tool that guarantees efficient, safe electricity use and can prevent the installation costs of a new meter. 

If you would like to know more about electric car charging, or are thinking of buying an EV, check out our complete guide to EV charging to learn more about the topic.

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