December 9, 2021

Reducing the cost of EV charging with Optiwatt

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

Optiwatt integrated with Smartcar to help electric vehicle owners lower EV charging costs and reduce grid load through managed charging.

Optiwatt’s mobile and web application aims to advance EV adoption by making vehicle ownership affordable and cleaner for the environment.

The app enables scheduled EV charging during off-peak hours by connecting to a driver’s electric vehicle and utility plan. Optiwatt then monitors electricity rates and schedules charging when there’s less electricity demand from the grid.

How much does it cost to charge an EV?

The answer is… it depends.

Charging costs can vary greatly depending on factors like the cost of commercial electricity, weather, battery capacity, and the distance traveled by drivers on their average commute.

Depending on where a driver lives or charges their vehicle, the cost of electricity during a specific window of time is significantly higher if more EVs are charging while households are actively using electricity. During the summer or winter months, peak hours are impacted by the usage of heating and air conditioning systems. Electric vehicles also require more energy in extreme weather conditions to cool or heat batteries.

But all of this doesn’t mean drivers can’t control the amount they spend on EV charging.

Optiwatt’s app allows EV owners to lower charging costs by optimizing charge times to off-peak hours — when less electricity is generated, the cost of electricity production drops, and the CO2 emissions from the grid are lowered.

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Optiwatt helps EV drivers save money and energy

Optiwatt makes it easier for drivers to fit charging schedules around energy demand fluctuations. This involves working with utility companies to reduce peak-load demand by connecting to electric vehicles and starting and stopping charging remotely.

By accessing a vehicle’s battery levels and monitoring utility rates throughout the day, Optiwatt can automatically start charging when rates are cheaper and stop charging when a target battery level is reached.

A seamless and user-friendly integration with electric vehicles gives Optiwatt users the satisfaction of managing their EV charging experience and electricity bills. But in the effort of supporting more drivers in a fast-growing electric vehicle market, it became a time-consuming bottleneck to integrate with more EV brands and accurately monitor each vehicle’s state of charge (SoC).

So instead of developing and maintaining a long list of 3rd party APIs themselves, Optiwatt sought out a solution to expand their app’s vehicle compatibility in a more efficient way.

One Smartcar integration, more connected EVs

With Smartcar, Optiwatt has saved time and cost by integrating with 5 additional EV brands. “When looking for an established electric vehicle API provider, Smartcar was the only option to fit the bill,” said Casey Donahue, founder at Optiwatt. “Instead of calling out to 20 potential APIs based on the vehicle, we only need to call out to one.”

With Smartcar’s API, Optiwatt can access a vehicle’s SoC to help drivers automate charging schedules and optimize charging costs until a driver reaches a desired battery level.

For drivers who set charging schedules for the cheapest rates, the app will start charging when rates are the lowest and postpone charging at all other times.

During the app’s onboarding process, vehicle brands supported by Smartcar are taken into the Smartcar Connect user authorization flow. With a few clicks, drivers can grant the app permission to access a vehicle’s battery to start or stop charge, check charging statuses, and view battery levels.

“By using Smartcar, Optiwatt can quickly add electric vehicle support without worrying about building and maintaining the connection to 3rd party APIs,” said Casey. “As a result, we’re able to focus on building our product and giving our users more features."

A continued effort to reduce emissions

Optiwatt’s commitment to building a clean and sustainable EV charging experience continues with the launch of its “green plan” in early 2022. With the help of Smartcar, Optiwatt will allow drivers to optimize charging schedules during times where CO2 emissions are the lowest.

The goal? To remove the equivalent of one gas vehicle from the road for every ten EVs enrolled.

You can play your part in this mission by signing up for Optiwatt here.  

Vehicle brands, logos, and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement or affiliation with Smartcar or Optiwatt.

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