Electric Vehicle Load Management Explained
What is EV load management?
Put simply, EV load management is the ability to control how much energy an EV charger dispenses to a vehicle.
If you’ve just started your electrification journey and are still unsure how or why ‘load management’ is such a critical feature for your EV charging infrastructure – you are in the right place.
Before reading any further, you should be aware that ‘load management’ is not a standardised industry term and can mean different things to different people. You might have seen others using terms like “load balancing”, “load shedding”, “load curtailment”, “power management”, or “charging management”.
01. Why is EV load management important for fleets?
Regardless of the size, there will always be a physical limit to the amount of power available at your vehicle charging site. If that limited supply is not managed effectively, there’s a risk you could overload and interrupt your power supply - especially if you’re adding EV infrastructure on top of other energy-hungry equipment (e.g., manufacturing machinery).
There are a couple of ways to remedy this situation. You might decrease the power supply to other on-site operations to free up more for your EVs – but that’s not usually feasible. Or you might want to increase your power supply, either by upgrading your grid connection or introducing local generation (e.g., solar) – but that will be cost and time intensive.
The most efficient and cost-effective option is to find a safe way to optimise your remaining site supply.
02. How can EV load management help your fleet?
At its most basic, EV load management balances the available power to ensure that all your vehicles charge on time, with enough power for their scheduled trips, without compromising the grid or the power to your other on-site facilities.
There are a few different types of EV load management technology, but the two most used by fleets are ‘static’ and ‘dynamic’.
Static Load Management (SLM)
Technology that allows you to set a fixed power limit for a group of EV chargers. That power is then shared evenly between all charge points and cannot be exceeded either by an individual charger or the group of chargers as a collective.
Dynamic Load Management (DLM)
Technology that allows you to set a flexible power limit for a group of EV chargers. Throughout the day, DLM constantly monitors the power supply of the entire site and balances the rate of all chargers in line with:
a) The fluctuating power availability on site
b) The demand of each actively charging vehicle.
E.g., if you have a manufacturing facility on site that only operates during the day, power availability for your chargers will increase at night. DLM will identify this change and automatically lift the charge rates to the vehicles.
03. Which type of EV load management do I need for my fleet?
This will depend on a few factors.
If you have an abundance of spare power capacity at your site and are confident that will be sufficient to charge all your EVs at the same time (even when your site is running at peak power consumption) – then good news, you do not need load management at all.
If you have enough spare power capacity at your site to charge all of your vehicles, but are concerned that you do not have enough to charge them all at the same time (or your site sees large swings in consumption) – then SLM should be sufficient.
But if you do not have enough spare power capacity at your site to charge all of your vehicles, especially when you’re at peak consumption – then you will likely need DLM.
You may ask, why not just implement DLM technology in all scenarios?
The answer is cost. DLM is typically more expensive than SLM as it requires additional hardware, software and installation by a trained and experienced installer. However, it is by far the more cost-effective route in comparison to a new grid connection.
04. How does dynamic load management work for EV fleets?
For dynamic functionality to work, your charging solution must include a way to measure the power levels of the entire site, so it can calculate the remaining capacity available for the chargers.
You will find two types of dynamic load management solutions in the market:
Software based solutions which require a constant internet connection to function successfully
Hardware based solutions which can implement the EV load management without an active internet connection.
If you’re deploying EO’s dynamic load management solution, you’ll need:
The EO Hub (with smart meter)
Local Area Network (LAN)
A software management platform (optional)
05. How do I go about sourcing the right technology for my business?
First, you’re going to need a formal site evaluation. This should be done in collaboration with a charging partner to examine site power availability and the predicted power demand of your new EVs. At EO, we call this a ‘Smart Fleet Consultation’.
Based on this simple evaluation, it’s easy to assess which type of load management is suitable for your vehicle charging site or if a costly power upgrade is required.