## What is Smart Charging?
The smart charging system is responsible for **optimizing the electric car charging performance**. How does it work? By optimizing both **energy consumption** and **charging time period** through multiple functionalities allowing you to get the most out of your charging session while avoiding possible extra costs.
The Smart Charging functionality allows **real-time** **data sharing** between the electric vehicle and the charging point, sharing simultaneously the information with the charging point operator (CPO) and the EV driver who is charging.
This cloud connection technology differs from traditional charging systems in that it allows **remote charging management** and optimizes the energy consumption of any charging station, thus providing smart charging for electric vehicles and **efficient management of charging points**.
As vehicles are connected in the cloud, charges can be monitored based on multiple aspects such as **available power**, **number of vehicles** being charged at the same time, **charging priorities**, etc. But for the final user it is as simple as plugging in the vehicle and starting to charge!
**Future must be intelligent and sustainable**, and to achieve these goals we must commit to accelerating the implementation of smart charging for electric vehicles in order to build an energy network based on **100% renewable sources**.
## Which functions does the smart charging system offer?
- ### Prevention of energy demand peaks
Thanks to the possibility of setting **static limits according to the maximum power contracted**, this function allows you to prevent possible energy peaks that exceed the power limit and could mean **extra costs**. In other words, peak shaving is responsible for establishing a maximum amperage so that the charging station or charging point never exceeds the established power.
It is particularly useful in **specific electrical networks**, such as in an EV charging station where the energy source is not shared and is intended only for its charging points.
And keeping the example of the EV charging station, if all charging points were active and could exceed the maximum power, this function would **reduce the consumption in an equal and automatic way** in all charging sessions.
- ### Dynamic load balancing
Dynamic load management analyses the available power and **distributes the energy proportionally among all active charging sessions**. On the one hand, this allows us to **get the most out** of the maximum contracted power without exceeding it. And on the other hand, it offers us an **optimal charging** for all vehicles and a **balanced energy consumption**.
This smart charging system is especially useful in cases where **an existing electricity network is shared with the charging point or station**, such as in neighborhood communities, hotels, restaurants, etc., whose energy source must assume the accumulated power of all charging sessions, in addition to the power used by other elements connected to the network at the same time, such as refrigerators, microwaves, televisions, etc.
In other words, dynamic balancing refers to the **automatic distribution of available energy between the building and the electric vehicles** with active charging sessions, usually giving priority to the building elements.
The real value of this function lays on the **protection** it offers to the charging point grid and the other elements that use and share the same power source and in the **efficiency generated** in energy consumption.
- ### Load balancing by services
This function, like the previous one, also **distributes the available energy** proportionally among the different active charging sessions, thus ensuring optimal charging processes in all vehicles.
However, in this case we are talking about a much simpler function that is nevertheless **indispensable** **for all those charging points equipped with a double socket** or for a single station with multiple points.
This means that at a charging station, if only one vehicle is plugged in, it will be charged with full power. However, if two or more vehicles are connected, the charging session of each device will decrease substantially its power to **ensure the same energy level for all vehicles**.
And of course, it also allows you to avoid exceeding the maximum contracted power.
- ### Load balancing by priorities
This function analyses the available capacity according to energy use and distributes the power between the active charging sessions, taking into account the **priorities and needs of the users** (such as **payment preferences**, **charging order**, **schedules**, etc.), to ensure an optimized charge for each and every vehicle.
If, for example, a vehicle is plugged in at 10.00 am and another at 10.30 am, **the first one will have priority** according to the charging order. Alternatively, if a customer **pays an extra** to have its car charged faster, that vehicle will have priority over another vehicle that has been plugged in previously, for example. Therefore, what we gain is **increasing efficiency** **by taking into account the priorities of our customers**.
Electric vehicle smart charging has never been easier!
- ### Load balancing between multiple brands
Balancing the power between **different charging point brands** is possible thanks to our Connect control center, which monitors all charging periods, no matter what kind of charging point, and allows an **equal balancing** of all of them without any added difficulty.
Connect collects all data globally, rather than capturing information from each point of different brand individually, in order to **process data as a whole** and manage all charges as efficiently as possible.
## Benefits of Smart Charging for electric vehicle drivers
- ### Faster and safer charges
Smart charging for electric vehicles, instead of conventional charging, **allows the maximum charging power to be used safely**, always taking into account the contracted **power limit**.
Compared to a domestic plug and conventional charging, a smart charge is significantly safer because the **station** automatically checks the **connection between the vehicle and the device itself** before starting the charging session.
In addition, all active charges are managed and controlled remotely and can even be stopped if necessary.
- ### Control over consumption and charging time optimization
By collecting consumption data, smart charging system allows you to **control your expenses** **by optimizing the charging time**.
This function will allow you to **save money** by automatically optimizing the charging sessions periods and take advantage, for example, of the hours when electricity is most cost-efficient: an off-peak tariff.
At the same time, this smart function will also help to **protect the environment**, since charging our vehicle during low consumption hours will allow us to **balance the electricity network**, which means **reducing emissions** in electricity generation.
- ### Automated payments
Smart charging system allows you to automate billing through the **customer identification process**. The charging session starts once the station or point has correctly identified the customer and/or the vehicle using an RFID card or an app for EV drivers.
That means that if you live in a neighborhood condominium, this function allows you to **forget about unnecessary discussions** about how much each driver should pay, since it is a totally automatic process in which each user will pay according to the power and energy consumed at each moment.
## Benefits of Smart EV Charging provided by Place to Plug to businesses and operators
Place to Plug offers you an **end-to-end solution** so you can **adapt your business to electric mobility** without complications and enjoy a totally transparent, automated and worry-free process.
In addition to enjoying all the **electric vehicle smart charging features** –peak shaving, dynamic balancing, balancing by services, balancing between multiple brands and priority balancing– our platform also offers:
- ### Multi-brand based on communication protocols such as OCPP and OCPI
Our software is compatible with the vast majority of charging point manufacturers and we offer **integrations with global brands** based on **OCPP** (**Open Charge Point Protocol**) with versions **1.5 and higher**. But the multi-brand concept does not only include integrations with OCPP, but with all kinds of protocols, such as **Modbus**.
Likewise, our solution implements interoperability standards such as **OCPI** (**Open Charge Point Interface**), as well as having direct roaming (or eRoaming) networks such as **Hubject** and **Gireve**.
However, in Place to Plug we are developing **Nexus**, a **new platform** that facilitates the interoperability between servers.
- ### Charging station management in real-time
Our Connect control center allows you to remotely manage and monitor any charging point smartly.
Connect provides real-time information (charging points' status, charging sessions, issues...), **statistics tailored to your needs** (such as electricity consumed, charging time, revenues, CO2 savings…) and **advanced parameters** as payment methods, scheduled bookings, advanced filters, differences between charging stations and a huge number of features according to the needs you have as an operator.
In short, the control center allows the **operator** to actively manage his station or charging point which will always be connected to transfer data in real-time and, at the same time, guarantees zero worries in order to optimize electric vehicle smart charging.
- ### App with thousands of charging points
Any user, through our app, will have access to a **map of charging points** with **real-time** information thanks to which you can **book the point** you need to charge your vehicle, just by scanning a QR code and without the need of specific cards.
Moreover, the user will be able to add their **favorite stations**, check their **charging history** and pay for the charging session automatically through our app, among many other options.
And if you are an EV driver and want to **share your charging station** with the members of our community, get some extra income and make it part of our point map, you can do it with just a couple of clicks!
- ### Define customized tariffs and enjoy automated billing
As the owner of the charging point, you will be able to define personalized rates and **manage the bills** of all charging sessions performed, in addition to enjoying a fully automated billing system.
Your users will pay for the charge –according to the price you have established as operator– through our app and that amount will be received by your business in its entirety at the end of each month.
Regarding the **tariffs**, you will be able to define them according to multiple variables: **groups of users** who carry out the charge, **charging period**, **power** of the charging station, **consumption**, etc.
In terms of **billing**, the great advantage we offer through our platform is the fact that we can charge automatically and give the customer the option to choose which **payment method** they prefer to use: with an RFID card, with a bank card, as a single payment or through the app itself.
- ### Lifetime upgrades
Charging stations evolve and with them, the functionalities they can offer, as well as our control center. Enjoy **free** lifetime updates automatically and remotely.
Comfortable, flexible, customizable and with the best user experience, the platform does it all for you!
🚙 And how can Place to Plug help boost interoperability and Smart Charging?
Offering an end-to-end solution for the electric vehicle charging, whether you are an EV driver, developer, business, institution or operator. And facilitating, through our Nexus platform, the implementation of interoperability to boost the electric vehicle industry's growth.