Smart charging makes the charging process of electric vehicles much more efficient than conventional "normal charging". Smart charging is an automated computer system that controls and coordinates the charging of vehicles by creating a connection between electric vehicles, charging stations, energy suppliers and users. The local capacity of the electricity grid is used in the best possible way.
Smart charging can be applied both on a local level and via a cloud platform. Find out how these two systems differ and which is more suitable for your location in this article.
Local smart charging
With local smart charging, all functions for charging electric vehicles are installed on site. The charging stations are connected to each other by cable and communicate with each other via the corresponding manufacturer protocol.
This is already the first disadvantage: a combination of charging stations from different manufacturers is not possible with a local system. Likewise, the implementation of the charging infrastructure is very complex compared to the cloud-based system and thus more expensive and time-consuming. The network must be set up on site by a professional installer. This person must have specific knowledge to connect the data communication cables and configure the individual charging stations in the network.
Since all charging stations communicate via one and the same data cable, the number of charging stations is limited, which stands in the way of scaling the charging infrastructure at the site. In addition, optimizing a local smart charging system is often difficult. In the event of faults, remote diagnosis is only possible to a limited extent, which is why it is always necessary to check and rectify the problem on site. For this reason, local control systems are rather slow to adapt and therefore quickly become obsolete.
However, a local smart charging system also offers certain advantages.
- No internet connection required: Due to the fact that with a local system all functions are installed on site, no internet connection is required.
- Unaffected by internet outages: Compared to the cloud-based system, the local system is not dependent on an internet connection. If network issues occur, local load management usually continues unaffected.
Cloud-based smart charging
Electromobility is characterized by a great potential for flexibility, which is why a cloud-based solution is the better choice in the long term with regard to future customer requirements and technological developments.
A cloud is a type of server that is located at an external site and accesses the local charging infrastructure via an internet connection. In cloud-based smart charging, the charging stations at the site are connected to the internet so that decisions are made on the cloud system and instructions are sent to the physical charging stations. This means that the cloud-based charging management is constantly communicating with the local infrastructure.
- Connectivity: The cloud-based system offers an intelligent connection to vehicle and user data and, in order to meet new requirements, easy interface integration with various third-party providers, such as fleet management software, billing software, trip planning, etc.
- Costs: The server costs for a cloud-based system are lower compared to a local charging management system and its implementation.
- Maintenance and updates: The advantage of cloud-based smart charging is that there is no need for local updates, as all updates are done via the cloud. Any problems are immediately fixed remotely. As the algorithm is continuously improved, the cloud-based charging management is constantly undergoing modern optimizations.
- Scalability: A cloud-based system is very powerful in terms of complex requirements and multiple locations. If the charging infrastructure of the electric vehicle fleet is to be increased, this is no issue for cloud-based charging management. The cloud-based approach also offers the advantage that charging stations from different manufacturers, as well as AC and DC charging stations can be mixed.
Read more about IO-Dynamics' cloud-based charging and energy management software here. You can also request a free demo version or the link to the tutorial video.