'Smart’ is an attribute used for many things: watches, TVs, phones, and even entire houses. What does the quality of smartness in everyday objects mean for us? And more importantly, what does ‚smart’ mean in a wallbox? Find the answers here.
Smart devices – what does that mean?
When technical equipment or an entire system of technical devices such as a house is called smart, it indicates its ability to interact with its users. Hence, the device or component does not work in isolation but potentially in accordance with others. The smart watch interacts with the smart phone, the smart phone with servers around the globe, and the control unit in the smart phone processes data from electricity meters, wind gauges, light sensors, and temperature sensors into control pulses, for instance for motorized window blinds or radia-tors. Connectivity and the ability to communicate bidirectionally are therefore the primary characteristics of smart devices.
What makes a smart wallbox smart?
Translating the concept of communication to wallboxes, we might note that basically every charging station is smart – at least a little bit. After all, all wallboxes communicate with the cars connected to them (albeit in a limited capacity) and don’t just stubbornly pump electricity into the battery, regardless of what it tolerates. However, a truly smart wallbox is one capable of exchanging information with other system components (e.g., a solar power system) or control units (e.g., other wallboxes). The communication takes place either via LAN cable, wireless network (wi-fi), or established mobile communication standards.
When do I need a smart wallbox?
Smartness is of no use when you don’t need it. There are cases in which a smart charging station makes little to no sense. Then, KEBA’s a-series wallbox is a great choice to ensure safe and easy charging. But in cases when several high-energy electrical consumers such as a sauna, a heat pump, and stove are used at the same time, a smart wallbox in conjunction with an energy meter makes sure that the building’s connection is not overloaded, as the car is also connected to the power. This creates security.
If requirements increase further, there is no way around a smart wallbox: If consumption is to be assigned to different users (possibly with several vehicles), or if a distinction is to be made between business and private charging stops, this calls for user identification (often with an RFID card) with a subsequent transfer of information about the individual charging sessions to a web interface. Letting electricity flow from a solar power excess directly into the vehicle battery, for example, requires a connection to the Energy Management System (EMS). And if charging rates in a charging network – as in larger residential or parking garages – need to be temporarily throttled or distributed unevenly, this is not possible without smart wallboxes. Such load management demands smart design.
Smart only – in businesses and in public
The examples have already made one thing clear: There’s no way around the smart wallbox in certain areas. In the entire commercial context – from charging stations on company premises to charging points requiring payment in hotels or public parking lots – it is im-portant to have access restrictions as well as transparent billing or cost specification. Add to this a blackout protection in case of larger charging infrastructures, i.e., protection against an overload of the house’s electrical system, by reducing charging rates as well as ensuring optimal use of idle times (especially at night) with dynamic load management.
Future-Proof: Using smart wallboxes privately
But investing in a smart wallbox is also beneficial in the private domain. Why? Because even if there is no photovoltaic system or similar device installed on your roof today, that might change tomorrow. A KEBA wallbox lasts for many years and is constantly kept in top shape with free software updates to meet future challenges. Which is to say, buying a smart charging station once – such as any KEBA wallbox from the c-series or x-series – can save you money in the long run. Add to this future advantages such as update capability via web backend or even over-the-air, convenient consumption monitoring, and the certainty of being optimally equipped, even for things to come.