Harnessing Smart Charging: My Journey to a Dynamic, Price-Aware EV Charging Solution

Jan 18, 2024

In the world of electric vehicle (EV) ownership, effective charging strategies are as crucial as the cars themselves. My journey to optimize EV charging at my home wasn't just a quest for convenience; it was an endeavor to intertwine technology, environmental consciousness, and economic savvy. This is the story of how I developed a dynamic, price-aware On-Board Charger Protocol (OCPP) server, with my hybrid inverter and battery system.

Average per kWh prices from 2.5c/kWh to 20c/kWh
Average cents per kWh to charge my EV by date

The Challenge: Balancing Charging Needs with Cost and Capacity

Living in an era where EVs are more than just a trend, I faced the common dilemma of every EV owner: how to charge my car efficiently without breaking the bank or overloading my home's energy system. Initially, I set hard limits on electricity prices for charging, but this often left my EV undercharged, driving me into the arms of public fast-charging stations and queues of Uber drivers and grey nomad EV enthusiasts.

My home, equipped with solar panels, is a net energy importer. While I do manage some energy export, it usually occurs at night during peak energy rates. I realized that a more dynamic, intelligent approach was needed to leverage lower energy prices while avoiding high-demand periods.

ev charging station

The Solution: A Dynamic, Price-Aware OCPP Server

Integrating OCPP with my Hybrid Inverter and Battery: My first step was integrating a price-aware OCPP server with my existing hybrid inverter and battery setup. This integration allowed me to manage charging based on real-time energy prices and my home's energy production and consumption patterns.

Rule-Based Charging Strategy: My strategy was governed by four cardinal rules:

    • Avoid charging from the home battery.
    • Prevent overloading and tripping the pole fuse.
    • Cease charging during unexpected peak price events.
    • Prioritize charging from free or the cheapest available power sources.
  1. Dynamic Price Adjustments: The system was programmed to adjust to fluctuating energy prices dynamically. It responded to lower tariffs by increasing charging and vice versa, ensuring the EV was charged at the most economical rates without exceeding the home's energy capacity.
  2. Smart Energy Management: The system also monitored solar production, home energy consumption, and grid tariffs. This holistic view enabled smart decisions, like harnessing solar energy for charging during peak production hours or tapping into the grid when prices dipped.

The Outcome: Efficient Charging and Economic Benefits

The results were encouraging. My EV was consistently charged without any inconvenience, and I managed to average around 11c/kWh — significantly lower than the standard rates of around 25c/kWh. This system not only provided financial benefits but also contributed to a more sustainable energy consumption pattern.

smart charging technology

Future Perspectives

This project isn't just a personal victory; it's a prototype for future smart charging systems. It demonstrates the potential of integrating renewable energy sources with smart technology to optimize EV charging. I have started to seek out additional testers so as the product matures, I can add more users. As we move towards a more electrified future, such systems could become standard, providing a seamless, eco-friendly, and cost-effective solution for EV charging.

ev charging technology

In Conclusion

My journey is a testament to the power of innovation in addressing practical challenges in the EV ecosystem. By leveraging technology and adaptive strategies, I've managed to create a system that not only serves my needs but also sets a precedent for future developments in smart, sustainable EV charging.