How Does EV Charging Load Management Work?
This article will walk you through how EV charging load management works, what you should know to take the best advantage of load balancing, and the top vendors in the space.
Electric vehicle charging load management is the term for balancing the demand for energy throughout the day. Load management reduces energy usage during peak demand periods, reducing the burden on the grid. At the same time, it optimizes EV charging.
At the macro level, load management creates equilibrium among power demand across multiple sites like individual charging ports, fleet depots, residential buildings, or public parking lots.
At the micro level, load management shifts the charging session for a single charge point to a time when energy is less expensive. When cars use multiple charge points, load management balances the power to ensure that vehicles are charged efficiently.
How does EV charging load balancing work?
Load balancing systems instruct EV chargers to deliver the right amount of energy. They offset peak demand at the charging site level, in onsite battery storage, and within campuses.
EV charging load management software constantly communicates with the electricity infrastructure, charge points, and charging EVs. Well-known loan management software vendors include Picafuel. Tridens Technology. eDRV. and GreenFlux.
EV charging load balancing can be static (based on the time or day) or dynamic, where it adjusts energy consumption in real-time and redirects it to areas of greatest need. EV load balancing can react to changes, such as vehicle arrivals and peak demand, or to requirements known in advance, such as overnight charging requirements for an EV fleet.
Why should EV charging providers care about load balancing?
Load balancing maximizes charging site efficiency and customer satisfaction by ensuring that each charge point has the right amount of energy to service each vehicle. EV charging load balancing ensures that the grid can charge every car on time 24/7.
EV charging load balancing also means the charging service provider can access electricity from the grid during off-peak hours and store it onsite to meet peak customer demand without paying peak-hour rates to the utility. Load management and balancing help service providers avoid fines for taxing the grid during peak demand times.
EvoCharge iEVSE Plus 32 Amp (ImageSource: EvoCharge )
EV Charging Industry Protocols and Standards
The technology powering the EV charging industry has evolved so much over the last few years. As EVs become a natural part of the transportation ecosystem, we are witnessing a shift toward the standardization of chargers and the introduction of new industry protocols for interoperability. Now more than ever, it is particularly challenging to keep up with new developments and ensure that technologies comply with the latest regulations and standards.
Charge point operators and e-mobility service providers are facing challenges expanding internationally especially in dealing with different protocols, regulations, and multi-currencies, and integrating roaming capabilities into their networks.
In this blog post, we’ve put together a list of the EV charging industry standards and protocols which deliver the flexibility that is needed for the entire electric vehicle market. Standardization in the industry will be a key enabler of future EV charging infrastructure developments.
EV Charging Protocols and Standards
CCS – Combined Charging System Standard
The Combined Charging System Standard (CCS) covers several aspects of EV charging including AC and DC charging, communications between the charging station and the vehicle, load balancing, authentication and authorization to charge, and the vehicle coupler (the connector at the end of the charging cable, and the corresponding inlet in the vehicle). The term “combined” refers to the fact the CCS essentially adds Rapid DC charging through an extension of Type 1 and Type 2 AC connectors, resulting in Combo 1 (CCS1) and Combo 2 (CCS2) connectors respectively, which can provide up to 350 kW of power. CCS 1 connectors are the variety common in North America, while CCS 2 are found in Europe.
The CCS standard was introduced by seven automotive manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen) with the first prototype implementation demonstrated in May 2012. By 2014, the European Union adopted CCS2 as a requirement for EV charging networks. In the US, the first extensive CCS networks were completed along major corridors of the east and west coast in 2016. Today, companies in the U.S. that want to enjoy some of the 7.5 billion in federal funding allocated for the national EV charging network must support CCS.
NACS – North American Charging Standard
Tesla has dominated the North American EV market since 2012. The company did not adopt the CCS standard that became common in the US and Europe, but rather, used its own proprietary charging system. In November 2022, Tesla made its specification publicly available and announced it as the North American Charging Standard – NACS. Tesla charging stations outnumber CCS charging stations compared to all other service providers combined, making it the most common standard in the US. Like the CCS Combo plugs, NACS offers both AC and DC charging in one plug, however, its capacity exceeds that of CCS and can provide up to 1MW of power on DC.
Both Ford and General Motors have announced that they will adopt the NACS standard, and the first NACS-compatible vehicles should roll off the GM and Ford assembly lines in 2025. Until then, GM and Ford drivers will have to use an adapter to connect to NACS chargers.
NACS (formerly Tesla) connector
OCPP – Open Charge Point Protocol
The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is an application protocol for communication between electric vehicle charging stations and a central management system. It is an international, open-source, vendor-independent standard which is available for free.
The protocol was developed by the Open Charge Alliance (OCA) for the EV infrastructure market, and is considered the de-facto standard for charging infrastructure interoperability among charging equipment manufacturers, software and systems providers, charging network operators and research organizations. The protocol is a proven way to optimize the cost and minimize the risk of networked infrastructure investments. It provides flexibility for infrastructure operators to be EVSE-agnostic and allows easy access for EV drivers.
Many key players in the EV industry (charging station manufacturers, utilities, charge point operators and back-office software providers) contributed to the development of the protocol.
The latest version, OCPP 2.0.1, has a lot of new and improved features for device management, transaction handling, security, Smart charging functionalities, support for display and messaging and the extensibility of OCPP.
OCPP 2.0.1 also offers the option to support plug and charge for electric vehicles supporting the ISO 15118 protocol.
OCPP 2.0.1 was featured in one of the Open Charge Alliance Webinars.
ISO 15118 Standard – Bi-directional charging/discharging
ISO 15118 is an international standard for bi-directional digital communications between electric vehicles and the charging station. It defines a V2G communication interface for bi-directional charging/discharging of electric vehicles.
As a key enabler of the Plug Charge capability, ISO 15118 allows EV drivers to insert the charge plug into the car, charge, and drive away when ready. This process is enabled by a digital certificate located in the vehicle, allowing it to communicate with the charging point management system (CPMS). This enables a seamless end-to-end charging process, which includes automatic authentication and billing, and avoids the need to use an RFID card, an app or to memorize PIN numbers.
EV Charging Roaming Protocols
OCPI – Open Charge Point Interface
The Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) is designed for exchanging information about charge points between charge point operators and e-mobility service providers to enable scalable and automated EV roaming.
Supported use cases:
- Charge point information
- Authorizing charging sessions
- Handling registrations
- Smart charging
The specification includes:
- Providing session information including location data
- Sending remote commands, for actions such as reservations
- Providing charge detail records (CDRs) for billing purposes
- Authorizing charging sessions by exchanging tokens
OCHP – Open Clearing House Protocol (e-clearing.net)
The Open Clearing House Protocol (OCHP) is an open-source protocol that enables simple and uniform communication between a charging management system and a clearing house system.
OCHP enables seamless electric vehicle charging across charging station networks (e-Roaming). Using OCHP, eMobility service providers can connect to EV charging operators and providers in order to provide access to their network.
OICP – Open Intercharge Protocol
OICP was developed by Hubject and is a communication standard implemented between e-mobility service provider (EMSP) and charge point operator (CPO) systems through the Hubject platform.
The protocol enables information exchange based on contractual relationships between EMSPs and CPOs to Hubject, allowing them to offer reliable roaming to electric vehicle drivers.
eMIP – eMobility Interoperation Protocol
eMIP, provided by GIREVE, enables roaming of charging services by providing a charge authorization and a data clearinghouse API and access to a comprehensive charging point database.
Energy Management Protocols
OpenADR – Open Automated Demand Response
OpenADR is an open and secured foundation for interoperable information exchange to facilitate automated demand response.
It is typically used to send information and signals between distribution system operators (DSOs), utilities and energy management and control systems to balance energy demand during peak times.
OpenADR 2.0 enables standardization of demand response (DR) and distributed energy resource (DER) communications and automated DR/DER processes. It also simplifies customer energy management and eliminates stranded assets.
OSCP – Open Smart Charging Protocol 1.0
OSCP is an open protocol for communications between a charge point management system and an energy management system of a site owner or a DSO system.
The protocol can be used to communicate a real-time prediction of the local electricity grid capacity to the charge point operator. OSCP facilitates capacity-based Smart charging of EVs.
The Driivz platform is hardware-agnostic and based on open industry standards, supporting over 750 charger models.
- Driivz is one of the first companies to be formally certified for OCPP 2.0.1 by the Open Charge Alliance (golden node).
- Complies with ISO 15118 and OCPP 2.0.1 enabling vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communications.
- Driivz was one of the first vendors to provide full OCPI support (dating back to Nov 2018). In addition, Driivz was the first to integrate large networks in the USA (EVgo ChargePoint).
- Industry-standard protocols – OCPI, OCHP, OICP (Hubject), eMIP, and more.
- Plug-n-charge – to improve the charging experience and avoid the need to use an RFID card.
- Autocharge – providing Plug Charge like functionality based on vehicle MAC address.
- OpenADR certification
- Complies with Eichrecht, the German calibration law.
- Proprietary protocols – with tools to support and integrate any protocol.
Factors affecting the cost to build EV charging management software
In order to set aside the budget for EV charging software development, analyzing the features to be integrated into the software and the technologies that will be used to cater to the said feature list is rather necessary.
Apart from this, it is important to understand that only dedicated EV charging software companies can help you gain maximum returns on your investment while paving the way for the success of your EV charging management software in the demanding ecosystem.
The overall complexity of the EV charging management software is the major factor that impacts the cost of EV charging network management software development. For instance, building complex EV management software with a highly extensive feature list is bound to cost you more as compared to simple software with minimum features.
Furthermore, it is important to understand that dedicated software with features that have been mapped as per the market requirements and the audience analysis is capable of offering you maximum traction in this competitive ecosystem.
UI/UX design of the app
For robust EV charging station software development, it is important to have a well-defined UI/UX strategy in place. A seamless UI/UX design is capable of increasing overall user engagement while expanding the user retention rate as well. Since it is necessary to carry out multiple testing procedures to ensure the seamless functioning of a design prototype, the cost of EV Smart charging software development can vary accordingly.
Factors that affect the UI/UX design costs during custom EV charging management software development:
- Visual elements
- Color psychology
- Content writing
- Button placements
- UI optimization
- Portrait or landscape mode
The underlying platform is another factor that affects the development budget. For instance, the budgetary requirements for iOS and Android apps are based on various criteria, such as the time frame required to complete the process, the deployment time, etc. In order to keep the budget optimized as per your requirements, it is recommended to start with a single platform at first and then switch to a cross-platform app once it gains traction in the market after a successful launch.
The team size of the hired software development agency is another vital factor that affects the EV charging management software development cost. You can either choose freelancers for your project or simply outsource your project to a dedicated software development team. The former can eventually decrease your overall development budget, but their lack of expertise and resources is bound to hamper the quality of the software. On the other hand, hiring a dedicated team like Appinventiv can offer you the much-needed industry expertise at an optimized rate and maximum ROI.
Team size required to develop an EV charging management software:
- 1-2 project managers
- 1-2 business analysts
- 2-3 frontend developers
- 2-3 backend developers
- 1-2 designers
- 1-2 quality assurance analyst
Location of the app development agency
The location of the app development agency is also capable of affecting the development budget for creating EV charging management software. For instance, the hourly rate of development in regions like Asia is comparatively less than in the UK or the US. Here is the estimated hourly rate of development as per various regions:
Proper software maintenance is a crucial factor that affects the overall cost of EV charging station management software development. It is imperative to take significant actions to ensure the smooth functioning of web or mobile apps on all platforms and to offer optimum performance. Proper maintenance ensures the app’s longevity and provides a seamless user experience. The maintenance cost includes charges required to ensure the bug-free nature of the app, along with charges required to offer app upgrades or implement new technologies as per market requirements.
EV charging management software features
The features to be integrated during EV charging station software development should be capable of offering a seamless UX to the customers while maintaining user retention as well as engagement. Here are some of the necessary features to be integrated into a EV charging management software:
Users may regulate and monitor the energy use of charging stations through EV charging management solutions. Planning charging periods depending on demand and electricity pricing helps to avoid power grid overload and prevents energy waste. Energy management tools also let EV fleet managers prioritize charging for the most in-need EVs and balance power usage among several charging points.
One of the biggest barriers to EV charging is payment processing. Charging management systems that include payment processing platforms simplify payment and billing for EV users. Using a number of payment options, such as credit cards, mobile wallets, and membership cards, this feature enables Rapid and simple device charging.
Commercial EV fleets may manage their operations with the help of EV charging management tools. The ability to track and monitor EV charging, vehicle usage, and maintenance requirements is provided for fleet managers via this function. For the purpose of assisting fleet managers in making data-driven decisions on the deployment of charging infrastructure and vehicle types, fleet management features also provide information on battery health and charging patterns.
Real-time monitoring and administration of charging station hardware are possible with EV charging management solutions. With the help of this capability, administrators may monitor the status of charging, identify hardware problems, and improve charging efficiency. In addition to decreasing downtime and guaranteeing that charging stations are constantly accessible, preventive maintenance is also made possible through hardware monitoring.
User management tools are included in EV charging management solutions, enabling administrators to manage user accounts and restrict access to charging stations. User management capabilities provide authorized users with safe and convenient charging access and can also provide customized charging settings, such as charging intervals and payment options.
Who can benefit from EV charging management software?
The current state of EV infrastructure is fragmented, which creates situations where EV charging management software is not only useful but critical. The software helps manage charging stations, monitor usage, and ensure that charging is done efficiently.
Here is the list of stakeholders that can benefit from the use of EV charging management software
Business owners may manage their EV charging stations more effectively with the aid of EV charging management software. It can provide real-time statistics and reports on usage trends, income, and expenses, as well as automate a number of manual tasks, including scheduling and billing. They may further enhance their earnings and optimize their charging infrastructure with the help of a dedicated EV management system.
To monitor and manage the charging infrastructure for a fleet of electric vehicles, fleet managers can use EV charging management software. To reduce downtime and optimize the charging process, the software may define rules and track energy usage. Monitoring and controlling charging operations can help fleet managers ensure vehicle availability and lower operating expenses.
Charge Point Operators (CPOs):
EV charging management software can help CPOs by making it easier to manage their charging stations. With the help of the software, EV charging stations may be managed, monitored, and maintained with less effort and expense. It can facilitate communication between CPOs and other stakeholders and guarantee that EV users have a flawless charging experience.
EV charging management software can help EV users to locate and access charging stations easily. The software provides real-time information on the availability of stations and the estimated time required for charging, reducing the range anxiety associated with driving electric vehicles. It can also offer a mobile app that allows EV users to manage their charging activities, track usage and receive notifications about charging events.
We recently created a mobile app named Bolt Charging Network which is a decentralized EV charging station network located across India. The network is powered by our Smart universal charging points which are available for purchase not just for EV owners, but for any individuals who want to install EV charging points in their garages, RWAs, shops, commercial spaces, and so on. Using the BOLT app, EV users today can locate nearest charging points in 300 cities across the nation.
Government and Municipalities:
Governments and municipalities can use EV charging management software to manage and expand their public charging infrastructure. The software can help to improve access to charging for EV drivers and support the growth of the electric vehicle market. It can also provide real-time data and analytics to help policymakers make informed decisions about their EV charging infrastructure.
EV charging management software can benefit energy providers by providing real-time data on energy consumption and usage patterns. This information can help them to optimize the energy supply to EV charging stations, manage peak demand and reduce energy costs. The software can also help energy providers to plan for future energy needs and support the growth of the electric vehicle market.
Environmental organizations can use EV charging management software to monitor the growth and impact of the EV market on the environment. They can track the reduction of carbon emissions and improved air quality, ensuring that the EV market aligns with their environmental goals. The software can provide real-time data and analytics to help environmental organizations make informed decisions about the growth of the EV market.
The benefits of intelligent charging
Intelligent charging is especially beneficial, even essential, for the energy market. But good things come in plenty: smartness is profitable for the electric car drivers, charging station owners and charging network operators as well.
Here’s how EV drivers, businesses and EV charging networks can benefit from a Smart electric vehicle charging solution.
Benefits to EV drivers
Wouldn’t it be tempting to think that it doesn’t really matter where you charge your vehicle, as long as it gets charged? Unfortunately that’s not the case.
As an EV driver with access to Smart charging, you’ll:
Find available charging stations for EVs
Find available charging points easily on a mobile app and reserve your charging spot on the go. The mobile application shows you information about the charging power and price, and real-time data about the availability of charging stations
The Smart device will automatically use the maximum amount of energy available. The maximum charging power of most Smart devices is 22 kW. Fast charging stations can charge even with a maximum power of 150kW.
Especially compared to a household socket, a Smart charging device is a much safer and a more carefree option. Smart devices automatically test the connection between your vehicle and the device before they start charging. All charging events are being monitored and can be controlled remotely.
Avoid arguments with neighbors
Avoid unnecessary arguments and disputes on energy consumption between neighbors, as consumption data can be easily traced back to the right person. With Smart charging, all EV drivers are billed after charging based on the station pricing. It all happens automatically: neither you as an EV driver or the charging point owner has to worry about payments. Automated billing is based on customer identification, thus the charging event only starts when you have successfully identified yourself at the station with the mobile app, RFID tags or the one-time payment service.
Save money — and the environment
You’ll also save money and protect the environment by automatically optimizing the timing of your charging event to favor charging when electricity is at its cheapest. Optimizing the charging event to take place during the low electricity consumption hours is not only cheaper but helps in balancing the grid. The number of EV drivers keeps growing and more flexibility will be needed in the future. Energy companies can even start offering incentives to EV drivers for charging with lower power, timing their charging events to take place at low consumption hours or enabling their car batteries to be momentarily used as power reserves.
Psst! There’s more where that came from
If you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of Smart charging to EV drivers, check out this blog post.
Benefits of electric vehicle charging to businesses
Much like consumers, businesses also have a lot to gain from Smart EV charging. Actually, doing it the Smart way is the only sensible and future-proof solution.
Smart charging allows you to:
Monitor EV charging events remotely
You’ll get access to a Smart management system that allows you to monitor and control charging events remotely, view usage statistics, and report issues. All your stations are connected to the charging platform and thus to each other. You can group stations together and manage them in a stack. This enables, for instance, limiting the charging power of a station group. Pricing packages and charging station information can also be edited conveniently.
Stop worrying about payments
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had access to a hassle-free billing system that charges customers either through their Virta account or directly from their payment cards? When it comes to payments and billing, you don’t have to do anything. EV drivers are billed automatically based on the you have set, and we’ll transfer the income to you monthly.
Take control of your electricity consumption
You’ll also get controlled charging events so that you don’t have to worry about exceeding the capacity of your local grid, or paying an arm and a leg in the form of your electricity bill. By grouping stations together you can save money since the need to grow the electrical connection can be avoided. If the maximum charging power set for the station group is exceeded, the charging power drops down automatically at all stations in the group.
Get peace of mind
However, the most important benefit of Smart EV charging is really quite simple: it allows you to stay focused on your main business. After the charging station has been installed, it doesn’t require your attention — unless you want to keep up with the statistics and business figures.
The elements of intelligent charging
Smart EV charging point devices
All electric vehicles are compatible with Smart charging devices but not all charging devices are Smart. Smartness is a word being used here and there, but a Smart device has to include some characteristics in order to be fully applicable with all the future-proof feature possibilities Smart charging offers.
When you’re selecting a charging device, consider at least these 3 things:
- Make sure that the stations can be connected to the Cloud. Devices should include for example GPRS or 3G connection in order to communicate with the service.
- Devices should include a standardized socket type: Type 2, or CHAdeMO and CCS Combo in case of a fast charging device.
- Devices should be compatible with the backend of your choosing. The most common, standard protocol is called OCPP, Open Charge Point Protocol, that allows you to mix-and-match different software and hardware to create a comprehensive charging experience.
The newer standard version, the better, but the most important thing is that the chosen device and platform follow the same standard version.
The good news is that most Smart charging platforms won’t force you into a vendor trap — and we’re no different. With Virta, you can freely choose your devices from a long list of supported vendors and models. Currently, we follow OCPP 1.5, 1.6, 2.0 and keep updating as new versions come out. Check out the full list of Smart charging devices we support.
Smart EV charging features
While Smart devices are a prerequisite for Smart EV charging, the real Hero of the story are the Smart features of the EV charging platform.
The admin panel
The admin panel is your best friend if you happen to operate multiple charging points across multiple locations. This is where you can set the price for public charging, manage your stations remotely, as well as view and download usage statistics.
The admin panel provides you with tools that help you become familiar with your station statistics, and make changes in the features, station details and based on key metrics. As the charging network operator, you can also manage the information about your customers, registrations and RFID tag shipments in the admin panel.
In short, it offers you an opportunity to be active in station management, but in practice everything runs smoothly without your active participation. We’ll take care of all the behind-the-scenes tasks so you can keep your FOCUS on your main business.
Automatic payments billing
Automatic payments and billing are yet another convenient feature you’ll gain by investing in Smart charging. Instead of having to manually charge your customers or employees after their charging events, the platform does it for you. And the best part? Your customers are free to choose how they want to pay. From RFID tags to the mobile app and one-time payments using a payment card, all you have to do is sit back and relax as the money flows in.
Mobile web apps for the end-users
Mobile web apps for the end-users take your customer experience to a whole new level. They allow drivers to find and reserve available charging points, add their favorite stations, view their charging history and more. Thanks to its smartness, the mobile application shows real-time data about the charging stations to the EV drivers. The mobile application is basically everything EV drivers need for charging.
Roaming helps the charging station owners to attract more users and gain more income. For EV drivers, roaming provides a possibility to charge at tens of thousands of stations in a number of ways, such as through third-party applications or cards. Roaming improves the user experience and functions the same way as mobile data roaming. Smartness is a requirement for roaming, as the devices have to be connected to the roaming networks. Virta is currently connected with the roaming networks of Hubject and Gireve.
Dynamic load management
Dynamic load management (or DLM) is such a pivotal concept in Smart EV charging that it’s sometimes mistakenly used as a synonym to all Smart features. In reality, dynamic load management refers to a Smart charging platform’s ability to automatically distribute the available power between the building and the electric vehicles that are being charged simultaneously. In other words, DLM helps you protect the local grid from peak loads and saves you from the hassle of having to upgrade the building’s energy infrastructure.
Energy management features
Energy management features are the key components in connecting EVs to the grid. Without Smart charging stations, electric cars can’t be used in supporting the electricity system. Watch this video to understand the symbiosis of electric car and the energy system.
Virta offer s world’s fastest and most cost‑effective channel to launch, grow and operate commercial services in the EV charging ecosystem – as a primary business or as a value-added service.
Knowledge is part of our DNA, we have the ability and ambition to build best-in-class services that work not only today but also in the future.
This is how we empower our customers to make a positive change – for profitability and for the planet:
Minimum effort, maximum benefits
The time to start offering EV charging services is now. But t raditionally operating an EV charging business comes with a long list of responsibilities: customer support, technical problem solving, payments, customer credit risk, roaming services, and charger management, just to name a few. Building the necessary capabilities and infrastructure takes time and money.
What if you could skip all the heavy lifting, and become an EV charging service provider right away?
With Virta you can. Our Virta branded solution gives you the ability to offer EV charging under your brand, while Virta handles all the complexities of running the service. We make running an EV charging business easy. Minimum effort, maximum benefit.
Reach your full potential
Electric vehicle charging services can be offered on multiple levels: you can offer EV charging to your customers as a value-adding service or you can own thousands of chargers across the country.
What ever your business model, Virta platform enables you to reach your full potential. Our platform is the perfect partnership between innovation, quality, adaptability and efficiency.
Hidden costs the greatest cost of EV charging. With Virta’s highly scalable digital plug-and-play platform solution you can avoid hidden costs, run world’s most efficient EV charging business and grow. We provide you with all the tools you need to build a business around EV charging.
A global leader in energy management solutions
EVs are essentially big batteries on wheels. They are the most important new source of flexibility and essential element in the renewable based energy system. Virta platform integrates EVs and energy system into an embedded ecosystem.
We are recognized as a global market leader in Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology and energy management. Virta enables you to take charge your energy and create value from energy flexibility. If you’d like to read more about our energy management solutions, click here.