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Discussion Starter #1
We have had a Citroen C-Zero for about four years, which we largely charge at home from a granny charger. We have an order in for an MG ZS. Charginng that on a granny lead doesn't seem a viable option.

OLEV grants are only available on Smart Chargers. Apart from the obvious pleasure in parting the Government from £500, why do we want/need a Smart Charger?

A few thoughts seem relevant:
  • We don't have any sort of Economy 7 tariff, and I doubt that our car charging needs would justify one. They didn't the last time I costed it.
  • The chargepoint will be on the house wall next to our drive/carport. I have no interest or need to plug the car in, then go away and start a charge from a hammock in the Seychelles
  • Any stats an app provides seem likely to be a seven day wonder. I will have to charge the car when it needs it, come what may.
  • A smart charger seems like a load more bits to go wrong compared with a simple one
  • Who runs the "smart network"? Rolec? What happens when the network is down? Or theyy go bust or are hacked by Huawei/the CIA/GCHQ or even the Mysterons? ? Can I still charge the car?
  • Perhaps of most interest, why is the government so keen on pushing smart chargers? I doubt it's for my benefit. What nefarious plan is coming down the tracks at me if I have one? Will it be reporting my driving habits to Boris so I can be taxed?
Any comments/feedback/thoughts? Am I just a fuddy-duddy old Luddite? (I doubt many Luddites buy EVs, but let that pass....) Seriously I don't understand the benefit to me of what must be a more complex solution, so am genuinely interested.

Nick
 

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Smart charger or smart meter? The government have been pushing the latter. Have you any more info on this smart charger you've been looking at, make etc? If someone's got one I feel sure they'll give an opinion for you.
 

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It depends what you mean by "smart charger".
To qualify for the OLEV grant charge points there was a general belief that they have to be able to report electricity usage to OLEV (an agency of the government) - but this is not the case directly as it can be done via the charge point suppliers. They now have to meet these requirements:
  • 7.0 SMART REQUIREMENTS
    The chargepoint must be able to receive and process information provided.
    To react to information received, by adjusting the rate of charging or discharging.
    To monitor and record energy consumption, and be able to transmit this.

  • 7.1 DATA COMMUNICATION PROTOCOL
    To be accessed remotely, through a data communication protocol and communication technology, by utilising the following:
    The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) version 1.6 (or above), or an equivalent.

  • 7.2 CYBER SECURITY
    The chargepoint must have appropriate security measures to ensure that its functions are resilient to cyber-attack. The chargepoint must ensure that any communications are exchanged in a secure manner with an appropriate level of encryption to prevent interception by an un-authorised third party.
Some chargers offer "smart" features which may include some of the following:
  • remote control
  • timed charging
  • integration with variable time of use tariffs (eg. Octopus Agile)
  • ability to limit charge to certain estimated SOC levels via integration with vehicle telemetry APIs
The government is encouraging the use of EVs and encouraging the collecting of data on charge timing via the OLEV grant. If you are unwilling to accept this element of "big brother" then there is no requirement to take it nor to currently to continue to allow the data transmission after the 3 year term. However, you can get standard installations at lower cost to you done this way.

The other "smart" features are up to you. A lot of cars can achieve them by other means, although your choice of the MG means that currently is dumb. If you don't want a time of use tariff (such as Octopus Go), or a variable tariff such as Octopus Go, then there seems little benefit to you. You may as well go for the lowest cost OLEV approved installation.
 

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the MG means that currently is dumb.
I feel certin I saw Bjorn demonstaring the said MG app in one of his videos.
 

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The MG gets an app in other markets, not in UK/Europe.

Main benefit for the owner (rather than OLEV or the DNO) is timed charging, particularly cars like the MG with no timers on the car side. But that's only if you switch to an electricity tariff that offers a cheaper off-peak rate.
 

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Let's not create FUD about taxing car charging at home, that really isn't going to happen. Worry more about road pricing.

The main reason "smart" chargers are mandatory to get grant is to facilitate load shedding in future. This is primarily for DNO load management as without it the local network would require costly upgrades in many areas. Blame poor investment in infrastructure, but this is where we are.

Many so called smart chargers are far from smart. My 2019 Podpoint has no scheduling facilities - it just reports consumption. Wow :rolleyes: my Chargemaster installed in 2012 did that.
 

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The MG gets an app in other markets, not in UK/Europe.

Main benefit for the owner (rather than OLEV or the DNO) is timed charging, particularly cars like the MG with no timers on the car side. But that's only if you switch to an electricity tariff that offers a cheaper off-peak rate.
Just to add to this - And the even smarter ones that work with Octopus Agile, stopping and starting the charger during the night to cherry pick the cheapest half hour tariff rates
 

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Any comments/feedback/thoughts?
I agree with all your thoughts and don't have a 'smart' charger myself.

In 10 years time when they've actually developed and debugged some sort of load shedding systems I might get one (as mine will likely need replacing by then anyway).

Being able to micromanage charging to suit a specific tariff and save a bit of money is obviously desirable for some people, but my use is never likely to make that economic, so I'm just on a flat rate. That might change in future, but it seems very unlikely in my driving lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the quick responses. I did try to reply yesterday but the forum hung up on me. :(

To pick up on some of what's been said:
  • I did indeed mean smart charger, not meter. E.g.: Rolec chargers I believe this is the type of charger necessary to attract a grant. It's what MG are offering.
  • I'm semi- retired and at home all day doing a little local driving, plus occasional long trips. I'm not trying to replenish a regular commute overnight, ready for the next one, which is why I doubt variable tariffs will cost in for me.
  • The idea of targeted DNO load shedding of EV charging makes my hair stand on end. Facetiously put, that presumably means some [email protected] engineer in a faraway ops centre deciding to throttle my car charge, without knowing or caring that I need the car fully charged in two hours to catch a flight/babysit my grandkids/rush to Auntie Flo's deathbed. Meanwhile, my next door neighbour is happily roasting the fatted calf in an electric oven while reclining in his garden hot tub….Do I want to install something that puts me front of the queue for that treatment?
Hmmm. This needs thinking about. Does anyone know what it costs to install a non-smart charger? Where do I obtain one? Googling EV Chargers is bring up loads of people pushing the OLEV scheme.
 

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Speak to EcoHarmony about a Viridian charger and they will happily sell you a non grant high quality dumb charger that might be just what you are looking for.
 

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the forum hung up on me
Yes it's very hit and miss at present. Fine one minute, dog-slow the next. Patience needed.

I'm semi- retired and at home all day doing a little local driving, plus occasional long trips. I'm not trying to replenish a regular commute overnight, ready for the next one, which is why I doubt variable tariffs will cost in for me.
Pretty much same for me.

[email protected] engineer in a faraway ops centre deciding to throttle my car charge
It would most likely be done through pricing (if they ever get smart metering properly going). You'd decide what price you were prepared to pay and your own system would then drop out if the price went over that. The app on your phone would ping to let you know and you could say "hell no, I need those units, even at £2 a kWh". Well I think that's the general idea, but I'm waiting to see. :ROFLMAO:

Does anyone know what it costs to install a non-smart charger?
Before anyone can really get into that can you tell us more about the set up. Pictures are good.

You've said the charge point will be on the wall by the drive, so outdoors charging presumably. Where is your meter/consumer unit relative to that? If it's not very close then running cables can get expensive and a bit of DIY may be better (possibly neater too as SWMBO may have opinions on the aesthetics).
You'll probably need an earth rod as well, so where that may go can be interesting too.

Having a good idea of all this and your preferences will help when dealing with electricians who may try and inflate the job somewhat (as rumour has it).
 

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Not all "Smart Chargers" are connected to a central server that Big Brother is watching. There's one called EmonEVSE which is an open source hardware design. You can decide what you want it to do via the inbuilt webserver (only on your local WiFi by default) and it does meet the OLEV grant requirements. I think it's more aimed at geeky nerds (like me) than self-confessed Luddites. It's the one I plan to get once I get an EV.

Another route, if you know a local friendly electrician who doesn't charge the king's ransom, is to get them to fit an RCD protected 32A interlocked commando socket and buy a 32A commando to Type 2 EVSE. Yes, it doesn't get the OLEV grant, but then you get to choose what is plugged into that commando outlet and it need not be smart at all. Note IP44 is only suitable for well sheltered locations. IP67 is weatherproof.

It might be good to put the commando outlet and the inline part of the EVSE inside a meter box anyway for neatness, weatherproofing and preventing any little oiks from fiddling with it. The downside to this is no timer control at all. You plug in, it charges. And given the MG is rather lacking in the "charge timing" department within the cars menus, it means you really should manually plug in at around 11PM onwards to minimise your CO2 footprint and stress on the national grid.
 

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Not true. Mine (Zencar) can be set to delay charge start.
Ohh, didn't realise the Zencar one can do that. I was just going off the spec of the one I found on the EVonestop site. You could also in theory get the electrician to install a time clock and contactor to feed power to the commando outlet only at times that best suit you. Old school and works but increases install cost slightly.
 

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Old school and works but increases install cost slightly.
The only snag maybe if the car objects to that, as some seem to. (Though they may object to any kind of delayed charge.)
But for the OP it's moot as he doesn't use any fancy tariffs, so probably won't need timers.
 

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  • The idea of targeted DNO load shedding of EV charging makes my hair stand on end. Facetiously put, that presumably means some [email protected] engineer in a faraway ops centre deciding to throttle my car charge, without knowing or caring that I need the car fully charged in two hours to catch a flight/babysit my grandkids/rush to Auntie Flo's deathbed. Meanwhile, my next door neighbour is happily roasting the fatted calf in an electric oven while reclining in his garden hot tub….Do I want to install something that puts me front of the queue for that treatment.
Facetious response: would you prefer a several hour long power cut while the DNO sends out their engineer to investigate why the local network tripped out on overload?

Besides the real driver with smart charging isn't to throttle charging when you need it, but to get people to shift it, where practical, away from peak times to use the network capacity and lower carbon generation available over night and outside peak.
 

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Another route, if you know a local friendly electrician who doesn't charge the king's ransom, is to get them to fit an RCD protected 32A interlocked commando socket and buy a 32A commando to Type 2 EVSE.

It might be good to put the commando outlet and the inline part of the EVSE inside a meter box
Agree, just tell a sparky you want a 32amp commando interlocked socket installed, and ask them to fit it in a meter box. Tell them its for a welder or whatever might draw 7kW, or the OHME. The OHME with commando plug is £199. The benefit is that you could keep the OHME in the car and sweet talk family/friends to have the same type of socket installed at their homes. Then you'll have 7kW portable charging, and it gives them an 'in' to think about an EV. OHME also integrates to Octopus Agile for lowest cost charging.
 

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If the OP goes for a commando socket he should still let the electrician know it is for an EV charger, they can also fit a suitable earth rod if your electrical system requires it so it fully meets the regs.
 

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I had to pay for a replacement Polar home charger to upgrade to 7kW when I got my new Leaf. The old one was a 3kW "smart" charger. Polar/Chargemaster asked me whether I wanted a smart one or not and I chose not.
I'm afraid I fall into the group that think it might be used for tax collection purposes.
 
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