What is Smart EV Charging?

A guide explaining the process of and benefits of smart EV charging, plus tips on how to find the right EV smart charger.

Last updated: May 08, 2024 4 min read

Summary

Smart EV charging connects EVs, chargers and the grid to optimise charging. It offers the driver a number of benefits and will future-proof charging infrastructure across the UK.

Smart charging for EVs

As more people move from petrol and diesel cars to EVs, the need for electricity will continue to rise. To better balance the rising demand on the grid, the government introduced EV smart charging regulations to ensure that home and workplace EV chargers sold in Great Britain have smart charging features. These functionalities enable the chargepoint to communicate with EV and grid and optimise charging.

How does smart charging work?

Smart charging uses connectivity and advanced technology to optimise EV charging for efficiency and longer battery life. It offers EV drivers a convenient way to set and forget their vehicle charging, all while saving money and using more renewable energy.

To use smart charging, you need an EV smart charger with the ability to connect to your EV, to the grid, and to Wi-Fi or 3G, 4G or 5G like the Solo 3.

You’ll need an app to control the smart EV charger from a smartphone. Simply set your charging preferences and the charger software will do the rest. These typically include:

  • Time – when you want charging to be completed.

  • State of Charge – the desired level your battery will be charged to, typically displayed in percentage or the minimum level of charge.

For smart charging, you also need a smart cable, which can transfer energy as well as information to support different functionalities.

Make sure the smart EV charging cable is compatible with your EV. Most domestic smart chargers have a type 2 connector. If that doesn’t fit your electric car, you can purchase replacement cables with a type 1 connector for untethered chargers.

Benefits of smart charging

  • Lower charging cost
  • Convenience
  • Better for the environment
  • Balancing grid demand

Lower charging cost

Take advantage of times when electricity is cheaper (typically overnight) to do the bulk of your EV charging at home by using the scheduling feature of a smart charger. This way you can bring your charging costs down, making it cheaper to run an electric car than a petrol car.

Convenience

Using a smart EV charger with intelligent features and connectivity makes controlling and planning your charging easier and more convenient. All you need to do is plug your EV into the charger and set your preferences in the app. The algorithm will stop and start charging to optimise, meaning you don’t have to remember plugging and unplugging at specific times and keeping track of the best times to charge.

Better for the environment

Smart EV chargers can avoid times when more fossil fuels are burned to supply the grid with electricity, usually when demand is at its peak. Instead, they’ll charge at times of lower demand when more renewable energy is available in the grid mix.

Balancing grid demand

Trying to balance grid demand isn’t just better for the environment, it also means less stress is put on the system and less frequent maintenance and upgrades are necessary.

How to make smart EV chargers more affordable

Ready to charge smarter? You can spread the cost of purchasing a smart EV charger like the Solo 3 with Klarna, breaking the price down into more manageable monthly payments*. Learn more about Klarna and other financing options for home EV chargers in our guide.

There is an option to make buying and installing a smart EV charger more affordable with the EV chargepoint grant. If you live in rented accommodation or own a flat with dedicated off-street parking, you could save up to £350 on eligible smart chargers like the Solo 3 and Solo 3S. Interested? Find out more about the grant for home chargers in our guide.

*Klarna’s Pay in 3 instalments is not regulated by the FCA. Finance is only available to permanent UK residents aged 18+, subject to status, T&Cs and late fees apply. Klarna.com/uk/terms-and-conditions.