Innovation in sustainable energy solutions has had a major role in shaping energy efficient electric vehicle transport and charging. Market trends - driven by key players like Heliox - have led to advancements in electric mobility, charging and Smart Energy Systems.
Smart Energy Systems in particular, represent a significant step forward in promoting energy efficiency and leveraging renewable energy generating assets effectively. These smart systems are designed to offer greater flexibility. This makes them an essential and powerful tool to help reduce carbon emissions and optimize energy consumption.
This article covers the fundamentals of smart charging with EV charging data, what it is, and how it can be used to benefit consumers, the climate and energy providers.
EV charging data: the lifeblood of smart charging
The fundamental asset which enables smart charging is data. EV charging data is the lifeblood of smart charging and is made possible by the digitization of transport. Unlike fossil-fuel powered vehicles, electric transport is digital rather than purely mechanical, which means it generates a huge amount of data. It’s possible to record, track and analyse this data to inform charging strategies.
This has become known as Smart EV Charging and Smart Energy Management and generally refers to the technology and best practices that determine when, where and for how long an EV should be charged to give greater control over previously uncontrollable variables such as price of energy.
Though it has been around since 2012, Smart Energy Management is starting to mature to become a more widely adopted practice. It is applied at the energy conversion stage, at the charging site, or micro-grid, and integrates energy from a number of sources including the grid, renewables and battery stored energy all while reducing charging costs by avoiding peak demand times.
Predicting energy demand to optimize charging
When it comes to the complex data sets and algorithms used to optimize charging patterns, there are serval ways EV charging data can be used to maximize efficiency. By logging EV charging data, it’s possible to predict an electric vehicle or electric fleet’s energy demand over a given time frame.
This prediction - or forecast - can be used to change a the most convenient time for the grid, to either reduce costs per kWh of electricity, avoid fossil-fuel heavy electricity mix, or avoid period of high electricity demand. This ability becomes even more powerful when combined with vehicle planning and scheduling.
Smart Charging integrates smart energy systems into our operations. By connecting vehicles to chargers Heliox turns the vehicle's battery into a form of mobile energy storage.
This allows fleet managers enhanced flexibility to choose between charging the vehicle faster when there is surplus electricity, or waiting to charge during electricity scarcity, or even returning stored electricity back to the grid to stabilize it and help avoid interruptions to the energy supply.
In this way, electric vehicle energy management systems can support and optimize existing electrical infrastructure without costly capacity upgrades
Reduce maintenance costs: input for predictive maintenance
Another way that EV data and electric vehicle energy management systems can enable smart charging is through predictive maintenance alerts.
This option generates an early warning message for fleet managers that indicates when vehicles are not charged to the required minimum, or when a vehicle stops charging unexpectedly.
It alerts fleet operators to any potential issues with the way their EV is charging or the vehicle infrastructure. As a result, this can help them avoid the need for unexpected servicing, maintenance or improvements and upgrades. It acts as a smart charging monitor that ensures smooth, continuous and cost-effective charging.
Another way to effectively leverage EV charging data is by combining it with live data on energy consumption and production at the grid or micro-grid level as well as current energy prices. This data can be used to predict energy trends and plan for future investments in charging.
With this information it’s also possible to control a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to assist in the EV charging process. This essentially lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an EV or fleet by banking electricity when it is abundant and sing it to charge up EVs during peak energy consumption times when costs surge.
The future of Smart Charging, EV data and analytics
Smart charging, made possible with EV charging data and analytics, is becoming critical for businesses planning planning to expand with new infrastructure and looking to get the most out of their existing charging infrastructure by managing performance.
On a macroeconomic level, EV data is likely to become an even more valuable commodity and could become integral to the clean energy transition. This is because the increasing amount of renewable energy sources coming online will require even smarter energy management - facilitated by production, consumption and energy storage data.
The rise of concepts like smart buildings and smart cities could see data-driven electricity consumption and load shifting become commonplace. Especially when combined with EV developments such as autonomous driving and bi-directional charging which allows for a two-way flow of electricity between EVs and the grid.
Looking ahead, the energy supply of the future appears to be inevitably moving towards smart solutions, where greater adoption of renewables and efficient electricity management of all assets - including EVs - are a key element of the energy transition.
Embracing smart energy technologies allows governments, private transport companies, and public transport operators worldwide to proactively be part of the clean energy economy, reduce climate change impacts, and help create a future powered by data and smart energy management.