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Set it and Forget it: The Future of EV Charging

Set it and Forget it: The Future of EV Charging

Utility companies worldwide are implementing customer-facing programs designed to better integrate electric vehicle (EV) charging into the electric grid while facilitating transportation electrification. These programs include time-of-use (TOU) rates and active managed charging and discharging programs, which ultimately promote grid friendly charging behavior. As these programs become more complex in how they manage EV charging, they should maintain ease of customer use (Figure 1). SEPA’s report “Managed Charging Programs: Maximizing Customer Satisfaction and Grid Benefits” discusses how utilities can better design programs to increase customer participation and partner with software providers and other program entities to deploy those programs.

Kaluza & the Charge Anytime Managed Charging Program

Kaluza is one such software provider that has been working with utilities in the United Kingdom (UK). OVO Energy, a leading UK energy supplier, partnered with Kaluza to offer customers a smart charging electric vehicle plan designed to cut customer costs and promote grid benefits. The program, called OVO Charge Anytime, optimizes EV charging in response to market dynamics when emissions and costs are low. Customers can charge at any time, day or night, and are not limited to specific time windows. Rather than customers worrying about charging during off-peak times (as is typical of a TOU rate), they simply need to set the time when they next need their car to be ready. Kaluza uses its advanced algorithms so that the EVs are automatically charged during the cheapest and greenest times of day. In this way, managed charging is enabled as the default, and customers are rewarded for making the easiest choice, striking the right balance on customer simplicity, while maintaining ‘utility control.’

Charge Anytime is a tariff add-on that allows eligible customers to access a flat charging rate equivalent to $0.09 per kWh (or 7 pence per kWh in the UK). This charging rate is the cheapest on the UK market and approximately four times cheaper than the UK’s average rate, which can provide significant cost savings to customers on the new tariff. This means customers can get a whole year’s worth of driving for just $230 (£190) – around 75% less than the price of gasoline. OVO customers have already saved over $3.4 million (£2.8 million) by smart charging with Charge Anytime.

Benefits to Customers

The program is designed as a “set it and forget it” EV charging model. Customers enroll in the program (which takes less than two minutes if they have their vehicle login details on hand), set their parameters in the program app, plug-in their vehicles, and enjoy bill savings, all with minimal input and thought. The Charge Anytime app splits the EV charging costs from the home electricity charges and credits customers for that amount of electricity saved via the program each month. Customers enjoy the bill savings without having to worry about optimizing charging during cheap grid times, and enjoy the additional benefits of knowing that their EV will charge during high renewable generation times. Customers are increasingly interested in programs that have decarbonization and other environmental goals.

Additionally, flat-rate charging helps customers predict their charging costs, which provides peace of mind and ease of use. Customers do not need to worry about energy price spikes for their EV charging and can manage their home energy needs separately from their EVs’ needs. By generating charging cost savings, programs like Charge Anytime are lowering the total cost of EV ownership, allowing more people to shift away from fossil fuels. In total, customers have saved over $3.4 million in the program’s first 8 months.

Benefits to Grid Operators

Utilities deploy managed charging programs to decrease the impact of EV charging on the grid and better pair generation with EV battery storage. The Charge Anytime program was able to optimize EV charging 97.5% of the time and shifted 330 MWh to off-peak times in its first two and a half months. Additionally, during a three-day high wind generation event, the Kaluza software was able to shift nearly 20 MWh of charging during “dirty” generation periods to periods of high wind generation, maximizing the utilization of this wind power with the EV batteries. Kaluza also optimizes the EV load every half hour according to wholesale energy and non-wholesale market price components creating more value for the utility. By dynamically controlling EV charging across a wide customer base, software providers can provide utilities significant benefits from managed charging programs. This can be deployed at speed – Charge Anytime had >1,000 sign ups just 20 days after launch.

The Enrollment Process is Essential to a Successful Program

The scale of the benefits of these programs reflects the number of customers that enroll and stay enrolled. Effective managed charging programs should be designed so customers can easily enroll and participate and include ongoing benefits so customers can stay enrolled. Some managed charging programs offer upfront incentives such as $50 to $100 to enroll and have monthly incentives for participating such as $5/month for participating in the majority of events or charge sessions. In the case of Charge Anytime, the “set and forget” structure along with the low flat-rate charging provides cost savings during every charge session. When customers see managed smart charging as an easy and ongoing way to save money, enrollment is easier than signing up for other pilots offering small payments. Kaluza’s programs have extremely high sign-up rates (50%+ marketing success rate / 350+ sign ups per week), which are a marker of the ease and simplicity in the Kaluza-powered enrollment process, and the attractiveness of the “set and forget” nature of the programs. The program requires little to no daily input on the part of the customer, costs them nothing, and offers clear, intuitive, and predictable benefits that are easy/intuitive to understand.

The Charge Anytime program predominantly uses vehicle telematics, as well as networked chargers, to enroll, monitor, and control customers’ EV charging. Telematics allow utilities and energy providers to scale their managed charging programs because telematics interact directly with the vehicle and do not require networked chargers or utility submeters for customers participation. By using vehicle telematics, Kaluza’s platform is compatible with over 80% of EVs in the UK. Since the opening of the Charge Anytime program in early 2023, over 11,000 customers have enrolled in the program, representing over 11 MW of flexible load.


Managed charging programs have clear, demonstrated value for utilities and customers. As more customers adopt EVs and seek new ways to reduce charging costs, it will become increasingly important for utilities to deploy scaled and easy-to-use managed charging programs. When utilities utilize software service providers to aid in program design, enrollment, deployment, and management, they unlock greater potential from EVs in their territories while providing customers with a valuable charging service.