The benefits of Smart Charging with

October 25, 2019
Zara Harper

Whether you’re on a flat rate tariff or Time of Use tariff, Smart Charging has a number of benefits. We’ve put together a handy guide that answers some of the most common questions from our customers on smart charging. In a hurry? Watch our video.

Smart charging schedules your home electric vehicle charging for when it’s cheapest, greenest and most grid-friendly. Our algorithm looks ahead 24 hours and selects the best times to charge based on your energy tariff and the estimated carbon intensity of the grid.

Usually, drivers come home from work, plug in, and start charging right away – but this coincides with the natural peaks in domestic energy demand. Smart charging presses “pause” on charging until the demand in the house has gone down, and greener, cheaper energy is more readily available. Optimising charging to take place during these low electricity consumption hours is not only cheaper, but also helps in balancing the electricity grid.

How does calculate the best times to charge?

Our algorithm has five objectives – in order of priority, they are:

1. Getting your EV charged by your selected “ready by time”
2. Using solar energy from your solar panels when it is the cheapest option
3. Using electricity from the grid at the cheapest times according to your energy tariff (make sure you select the right tariff in the app!)
4. Using electricity from the grid when there is the least demand on the grid, and
5. Using electricity from the grid when the lowest carbon electricity is being generated

When you turn on Smart Charging, you therefore allow us to charge you with the cheapest, greenest energy available.

You’re always in full control of your “ready by” time and can “Boost” charge whenever you need to.

Remember though, Boosting may utilise high-carbon energy at peak prices!

Can I smart charge with any EV on any charger?

Tesla owners and other connected car owners can smart charge on any home charger.

Alternatively, you can smart charge any electric vehicle if you’ve installed one of our connected chargers.

We will only smart charge you when we detect you are charging at your home address.

How is Smart Charging better for the environment?

Using your country’s carbon intensity forecasts, we will align the times at which we charge your EV with periods where there is an excess energy supply from renewable sources such as wind and solar. One year of Smart Charging saves 140kg of carbon – the equivalent to the carbon sequestered in seven 10-year-old trees.

And if you have solar panels, our Solar Smart Charging feature allows you to charge your car with your own, free, 100% renewable solar energy, no matter what car or charger you own.

Why do I need to enter my energy tariff/rate?

It’s important you select the correct energy supply to make sure we know when your off-peak periods are. This allows us to save you money by taking your cheapest energy available to you into account (it also means the charging costs/savings we display in the app will be more accurate).

You can let us know your details in the app by heading ‘Account’ > ‘Your energy supply’. If you can’t find your supplier or tariff listed, let us know and we’ll get it added to our system! If you don’t select an energy tariff, you won’t see any prices or savings in the app, but you’ll still be able to smart charge (we’ll base your charging on a combination of your ready by time and the carbon intensity of the grid for your region).

Will I actually save any money?

Charging in off-peak hours when the demand for energy is low helps you save money.

If you are on a variable rate energy tariff, enabling Smart Charging allows our platform to schedule your charge during the hours when your energy supplier charges you the least. This is especially useful for tariffs like the Octopus Agile Tariff, which varies every half-hour according to wholesale market prices.

And if you have solar panels, our Solar Smart Charging feature allows you to smart charge with free energy from your own solar panels.

We found that the average EV driver on an Octopus Go tariff who drives 9,400 miles is saving £412 and earning £33 in Rewards per year with the free app at today’s prices.

In our Solar Charging Beta, we found that the average EV driver on an Octopus Go tariff who drives 9,400 miles is saving £771 and earning £33 in Rewards per year at today’s prices.

Find out how we used real data to calculate the energy savings for our drivers.

I’m on a flat rate tariff, can I still save any money?

You can still save money by claiming one of our smart rewards. You can earn reward points when you smart charge, and then redeem these points on money off vouchers, and more!

This post was originally published on 25th October 2019 and has been updated on the 31st August 2022 to reflect the latest savings data.

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