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EV Market

Charging Forward: Optimizing EV Charging with Day-Ahead Pricing


April 25, 2023

As the world becomes more and more aware of how important it is to take care of our environment, electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly gaining popularity.

Several factors are driving this shift towards EVs, including increased environmental concerns, supportive government policies and incentives, attractive cost savings, improved technology, and a growing charging infrastructure.

Day-ahead pricing is a clever method that helps EV owners choose the best time to charge their cars, benefiting both them and the power grid. The day-ahead pricing strategy calculates the cost of charging an EV using the expected electricity supply and demand for the upcoming day.

On the other hand, EV owners charging during busy hours may pay more, in order to discourage high power use when the grid is stressed. 

Combining day-ahead pricing with smart charging software can lead to big cost savings, especially for fleet managers. A recent study revealed that annual charging costs are likely to be reduced by up to 30% by 2030 through the use of smart charging systems and strategies.

This article will go deeper into day-ahead pricing, showing its benefits for both EV owners and the power grid and how it helps to improve EV charging.

Future Power – Understanding Day-Ahead Pricing

Day-ahead pricing is a system that predicts the cost of electricity for the next day by considering factors like:

  • weather conditions, 
  • anticipated energy usage patterns, 
  • and available energy resources.

This pricing approach has a couple of goals.

Firstly, it gives people clear and accurate information about the cost of charging their electric cars. 

Secondly, it helps balance the electricity grid by encouraging people to charge their cars when demand is low and renewable energy is plentiful. 

Day-ahead pricing gives you the opportunity to make smarter choices about when to charge your EV and save money in the process.

How Day-Ahead Pricing Boosts Your Wallet, the Grid, and the Planet

There are three main benefits of using day-ahead pricing:

Saving Money for EV Owners

Charging EVs during times of low demand and high renewable energy production, means that EV owners can cut down on their charging costs. Day-ahead pricing lets you plan to charge your EV when electricity rates are at their lowest, putting more money in your pocket.

Easing the Burden on the Power Grid

Encouraging owners to charge during low-demand periods and when renewable energy is abundant helps balance the electricity grid. This means a more stable and efficient power supply for everyone.

Helping the Environment with Optimized Charging

Smart charging with day-ahead pricing not only saves money but also promotes the use of clean, renewable energy. This eco-friendly approach reduces emissions and contributes to a healthier planet.

Strategies To Make the Most of Day-Ahead Pricing

Here are some strategies to help you optimize your charging and save money with day-ahead pricing.

Know Your Peaks and Valleys

Understanding peak (busy) and off-peak (quiet) hours is key, as electricity demand and supply change throughout the day. During peak hours, demand is high and electricity can be pricier due to limited supply. Being aware of these patterns can help you choose the best times to charge.

Embrace Smart Charging Systems

Planning your charging schedule in advance helps to make sure you're always charging during the most cost-effective times. A little bit of planning can lead to big savings, that’s why it’s a good idea to utilize smart charging systems. Smart charging software such as Ampcontrol can be used to automatically charge your EV during off-peak hours when rates are lower. This way, you can save money without even thinking about it! 

Go Green with Renewable Energy

Incorporate renewable energy sources, like solar or wind power, into your charging routine to cut costs even further and reduce your environmental impact. Charging your EV with clean energy is a win-win for your wallet and the planet. If you’re a fleet manager, it also helps to improve the reputation of the company you work for – so it’s a win-win-win!

Stay Informed and Be Flexible

Keep an eye on day-ahead pricing updates and be ready to adjust your charging schedule as needed. Sometimes, you might need to charge during unusual hours to take advantage of the best rates. Being flexible with your charging routine can lead to greater savings.

Combine Shorter Charging Sessions

Instead of charging your EV for a long period at once, consider splitting your charging sessions into shorter periods during off-peak hours. This can help you make the most of low-cost electricity rates while keeping your battery topped up.

Use Time-of-Use (TOU) Rates to Your Advantage

If your utility company offers time-of-use rates, learn about their peak and off-peak hours and adjust your charging schedule accordingly. Aligning your charging habits with these rates enables you to maximize your savings on electricity costs.

Stay Connected with Mobile Apps

Many EV manufacturers and charging networks offer mobile apps that provide real-time information on charging rates, availability, and day-ahead pricing. Use these apps to stay informed and make smart decisions about when and where to charge your EV.

Limitations of Day-Ahead Pricing

While day-ahead pricing has many benefits, it's important to be aware of some challenges and limitations that come with it.

Regional Availability

Day-ahead pricing is more common in areas with advanced electricity grids, like North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. However, its availability depends on local energy policies, regulations, and infrastructure. Some regions may not yet have the necessary support for this pricing system.

Charging Infrastructure Compatibility

To make the most of day-ahead pricing, EV chargers need to communicate with the grid and receive real-time pricing info. Many modern chargers can do this, but older or less advanced chargers may need upgrades to support these features.

Battery Life and Performance

Day-ahead pricing encourages charging at different times, which can actually be a good thing for your battery. Charging during low-demand periods may help improve battery performance and lifespan.

Adapting to New Habits for EV Fleet Operators

For EV fleet operators, day-ahead pricing means changing charging habits to save money and optimize schedules. This might be a challenge at first, but the potential savings make it worth the effort.

Educating Consumers and Encouraging Adoption

To fully benefit from day-ahead pricing, EV owners need to be aware of the system and how to use it effectively. This may require educational campaigns and resources to help people understand the advantages and how to optimize their charging behavior.

Grid Stability and Renewable Energy Integration

As more people adopt EVs and day-ahead pricing, power grids need to be prepared for fluctuations in demand. For instance, they may need to invest in grid infrastructure and integrate more renewable energy sources to ensure a reliable and clean power supply.

Time-Varying Availability of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power can be inconsistent, depending on weather conditions and time of day. This variability can affect day-ahead pricing, making it challenging to predict the best times for charging based on renewable energy availability.

Charge Smarter, Cheaper, and Cleaner with Day-Ahead Pricing

Day-ahead pricing can make charging your electric vehicle easier on your wallet, better for the power grid, and kinder to the environment. 

It involves planning the best times to charge, using smart charging systems, and going green with renewable energy, to optimize your EV charging and make a real difference.

As an EV fleet owner, you have the power to choose sustainable charging practices, like day-ahead pricing. And with tools like Ampcontro’s smart charging software, you can make the most of your charging experience, saving money while taking care of our planet.

Get in touch today to find out how Ampcontrol can help you take advantage of day-ahead pricing.

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