Smart Charging not as Smart as You Think

Several providers offer smart charging for electric cars. However, today's solutions are not particularly intelligent. Volue and Norwegian utility Fjordkraft have taken the first steps towards future smart charging, which can save electric car owners a significant amount of money.


9 nov. 2023

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Current solutions for smart charging of electric cars are based on the assumption that electricity prices at different times of the day are set one day in advance, and they encourage charging during low-price hours.

Such solutions overlook the fact that electricity prices not only vary throughout a day but even more so over the course of a week. At the same time, most people only need to charge their electric cars once or twice a week.

"Today's smart charging has too short of a time horizon. It's frustrating when you think you're charging smart, and then you discover that you could have saved quite a bit of money by postponing the charging for a day or two."

Kjetil Storset

Spark Lead, Volue

Norwegian utility Fjordkraft is now launching the next generation of smart charging for electric cars based on long-term price forecasts from Volue.

"Our first priority is, of course, to incorporate features into the Fjordkraft app that we believe our customers will benefit from here and now, and we definitely think this will. But this is also about contributing to the green transition by helping consumers act rationally and flexibly in the future electricity market," says business developer Marius Øxenberg at Fjordkraft.

In the initial phase, users will receive recommendations about which day is the cheapest for charging and which days it's not advisable to charge, up to five days in advance. Volue's analysis shows that this first service alone could reduce the annual charging cost for a typical electric car owner by 1,000 Norwegian kroner.

First step

The long-term forecast that Fjordkraft is now launching is just the first step. The next step is for consumers to receive reduced grid fees by implementing "smart grid charging" in areas where the power grid is at its limit. Volue estimates that this could provide an additional annual saving of 1,500 kroner or more for a typical electric car owner.

"We are actively working on such solutions in collaboration with the grid companies Norgesnett, Lede, and Tensio. These grid companies are proactive in the green shift and show a strong willingness to facilitate solar power on all buildings in their network area. It won't be long before we see this solution on the market," predicts Storset, who leads Volue's Spark partner ecosystem for smart energy solutions at the neighbourhood level.

Solar requires flexibility

The installation of solar panels on rooftops will, more than anything, drive the need for smart neighbourhood solutions. As more and more people install solar production on their roofs, in many places, there will be more production than the current grid can handle. As an alternative to building new or reinforcing the grid, grid companies can create more flexibility in the neighbourhood's use of electricity.

"In essence, you will get paid by the local grid company for being flexible. It is cheaper for grid companies to pay people to use electricity during the day when solar production is high than to expand the grid everywhere," says Storset.

Do you want to know more?

Blair Grant

Senior Communications Manager