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What is smart charging?

Smart charging is a common term that refers to various functions of a charging station.

Smart charging technology

Smart charging is a common term that refers to various functions of a charging station that make your charging process easier, cheaper and more efficient. Below, we provide a brief overview of how smart charging works. 

How does smart charging work?

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.

What is load balancing? 

In smart charging terms, load balancing refers to the distribution of power between charging stations for those operating multiple charging stations at a specific location or those operating a single charging station with dual sockets.

Operating a charging station requires a power source (e.g. office building) to carry the cumulative sum of the total capacity of these charging stations. Load balancing distributes the available capacity proportionally over all active charging stations. In doing so, optimal charging is provided to all electric vehicles at your location, within the limits of your charging stations’ capacity.

Sample scenario:

A parking facility (power source) has a maximum of 30 kW available with five charging ports available. Four electric cars start to charge at 7.4 kW using the full capacity of power available. When a fifth car joins, there is not enough power to charge all five cars at 7.4 kW. This is where load balancing comes in and distributes the power equally so each car starts charging at 6 kW.

What is hub-satellite? 

For those who wish to operate multiple charging stations at a single location, hub-satellite is another indispensable smart charging feature. To save time and effort, hub-satellite is a function that conveniently gathers data coming from all charging stations within a single cloud-based charging management software (CMS).

To work properly, CMS needs each charging station to communicate data to its system. This is where a hub-satellite configuration comes into play. Instead of each charging station communicating its data individually—which would require each station to have its own built-in modem—hub-satellite enables up to 20 charging stations to communicate via a single modem.

Sample scenario:

Three charging stations with dual sockets are installed at a parking facility. One of these three charging stations is the hub station, to which all other stations (satellites) are connected to via cable that runs underground. This cable allows each satellite station to send data to the hub station. The hub station gathers the data and sends it to the CMS. The data is then processed, providing essential insights into charging sessions at all three stations.

What is peak shaving? 

During each charging session, your power consumption may run up to the maximum capacity available. This means that you will have to be careful when you switch on the washer or dryer. When you exceed your maximum capacity your network operator will charge you retrospectively for that. Peak Shaving helps to prevent this. As soon as you threaten to reach maximum capacity, the charging station will automatically reduce the consumption of a charging session, or even pause the sessions altogether until enough power becomes available.

If you would like to read more about smart charging, then head on over to our blog which covers the subject in more detail here.