How can electric vehicle (EV) drivers save money and reduce their environmental footprint at the same time?

November 7th, 2023

We are proud to present our Plug & Save pilot: a WirelessCar service that encourages a smarter and more sustainable way of charging electric vehicles at home. It is a service with a lot of potential, not least when it comes to making electric vehicles an even more attractive choice to customers. Here is what Plug & Save will mean for OEMs and EV drivers.

How does Plug & Save work?

The purpose of Plug & Save is to reduce both the economic costs and the environmental impact of charging electric vehicles at home. It is a digital service that allows EV drivers with variable electricity price contracts to schedule the charging of their cars to when the price of electricity is at its lowest. This becomes particularly valuable when electricity prices fluctuate a lot, as they have in recent years.

Once the EV is plugged in at home, Plug & Save will look at the next 48-hour-forecast, identify the time window in that period where the electricity price is expected to be at its lowest, and recommend that the car be charged during that time interval. In most countries, the price of electricity is generally at its lowest when the electricity is produced from renewable energy sources, such as the wind and the sun. In other words, there is a correlation between low energy prices and a small climate footprint.

Plug & Save offers users the ability to effortlessly manage their charging sessions, save money, and minimize their environmental impact. Moreover, it presents a multi-faceted business opportunity for OEMs.

an electric vehicle charging with data

How Plug & Save can help encourage driver interest in electric vehicles

To smoothen the path of user adoption of electric vehicles, OEMs should remove all potential obstacles and doubts that drivers may have. This not only with regard to potential customers, but to existing EV drivers as well. As they move from being “early adopters” to becoming the “early majority”, they will expect even better digital services, greater simplicity, and more financial benefits from their electric vehicles.

One recurring reason for EV hesitancy is the perception that charging electric vehicles is expensive; skepticism about the actual environmental friendliness of electric vehicles is another. Plug & Save addresses both of these common customer concerns, and lets users experience the customer benefits in a clear and convenient way.

For OEMs, it is a service that encourages driver interest in electric vehicles, and that adds value to the vehicles, too. The car itself is already connected and intelligent, meaning that it can largely take care of the charging process itself. That reduces the need for additional at-home EV charging infrastructure. In addition, Plug & Save supports the OEM goal of decreasing emissions during the vehicle’s use phase.

What role can Plug & Save play in a larger power distribution context?

Drivers spending less money on their EV charging at home – and doing so with great ease – is of course very appealing in its own right. However, we want to highlight that Plug & Save is also a concrete example of the environmental difference that can be made when these sorts of solutions are implemented and used, especially on a larger scale. Charging one’s car during the hours with the cheapest electricity prices makes it very likely that green energy will be used throughout the charging process. This helps dispel the doubts EV skeptics sometimes have about the eco-friendliness of electric vehicles.

Charging EVs during off-peak hours puts less pressure on the power grid overall, which thus contributes to the power grid being used more efficiently. From a long-term perspective, electric vehicles may even be able to provide energy to the power grid or one’s home, through V2G (vehicle to grid) and V2H (vehicle to home) technology. WirelessCar is looking into these concepts, and we will return to this topic in the future.

a happy woman driving a car

How Plug & Save fits into a greater EV charging ecosystem

EV charging can be divided into three categories, each with its own challenges and requirements. These are: charging at home, public charging, and en route charging. While Plug & Save addresses charging at home, it ties in with WirelessCar’s other EV charging concepts as well: Plug & Go and Smart EV Routing. These services have been developed to facilitate public charging and en route charging respectively, to simplify EV usage, and to further encourage driver interest in electric vehicles.

Range anxiety and a perceived lack of charging infrastructure are factors that still contribute to EV hesitancy. Dispelling these doubts will be a gradual process, and we have already come quite far. Our products and solutions in this area serve to lower the thresholds for potential EV drivers, and to make automakers the leaders of EV services. By addressing cost, convenience and the environment, Plug & Save takes a concrete, multi-pronged approach to what charging at home can and should be like for the everyday EV driver.

What will the future of EV charging at home look like?

WirelessCar works with StormGeo, in order to predict electricity prices. In the future, we will look at extending the prediction period and automating the process, further optimizing the EV charging experience with minimal need for user interaction. Add in the ability to better predict the EV driver´s usage patterns, which is already underway (thanks in part to our collaboration with Halmstad University). This will make EV charging easier still, with Plug & Save suggesting the extent to which the EV battery should ideally be charged; ahead of next day’s commute or the weekend trip.

WirelessCar aims to be a key partner in the transition process from ICE cars to electric vehicles. At the time of writing, Plug & Save is the latest addition to our EV service portfolio. It is a portfolio designed to strengthen the OEMs’ digital offerings, promote sustainability, and encourage driver interest in electric vehicles. By working closely together with OEMs and our other partners, we are able to meet your customers’ demands and expectations more quickly, and help you stay at the forefront of technological development. EV charging is a critical and exciting area of research and development, and we look forward to the new insights that services such as Plug & Save will bring.

Visit our Plug & Save webpage to see how Plug & Save works. You will also find several related articles here on our WirelessCar Insights blog, on everything from Smart EV Routing and Plug & Go to how EV driver insights can help improve connected car service design. If you have any questions related to Plug & Save, you are welcome to contact us via our email addresses below.

Martin Lundh
Senior Product Manager
Jens Andersson
Architect & Developer