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This article first appeared in our winter ’19 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Love Revolution, distributed with the Guardian on 22 February 2018. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Piecing together the technology to support a sustainable lifestyle hasn’t been easy for early adopters: home-generated power from solar panels or wind turbines is only useful if it’s available when you need it.
Unfortunately many people aren’t able to draw the maximum benefit from their own installations; they’re often at work when the sun’s shining and need to use domestic appliances in the evening when the sun’s gone down and the wind may or may not be blowing.
The charging conundrum
Anyone who has charged an electric car with their own microgeneration infrastructure will be familiar with the challenges: when the wind’s fierce or the sun’s blazing the abundant supply of energy can end up being sent back to the grid, only for the homeowner to be forced to buy energy back when the domestic demand can’t be met by their own supply.
Some predict electric cars will overtake diesel by 2020, so we urgently need the correct technology to support the transition. Many buyers see the switch to an electric vehicle as part of a wider shift to a more sustainable lifestyle – and that means they will want to charge their cars using a green energy supply that’s available when they need it, whether the sun’s shining or not.
Lincolnshire-based myenergi has launched an electric vehicle charger that addresses this very issue. The second-generation zappi charger, the first of its kind to hit the market and the only electric car charger to pay for itself in savings, is set to revolutionise the way electric cars are charged.
If you have solar panels or a wind turbine, the zappi can charge your electric vehicle with surplus power that would otherwise be sent back to the grid, essentially giving you a completely green charge. In some cases you can even get a free charge, which reduces your carbon footprint even further and increases your return on investment.
Zappi is government approved under the OLEV Homecharge Scheme, which means new electric vehicle owners can claim £500 back off the price of their zappi (£695-845) and its installation. If you qualify for the grant, one of myenergi’s installers will take care of the full process on your behalf.
Zappi works like any regular charging point, but two special ECO charging modes will benefit homeowners with grid-tied microgeneration systems like wind turbines or solar panels.
Dynamic load balancing features automatically adjust the charging current in response to on-site generation and household power consumption. If lots of energy is being used in the home, the zappi will slow down the charge so the electric car doesn’t suck all the available power from other appliances that are being used in the house.
On ECO mode the car will be charged until the battery’s full – even if some surplus power is drawn from the grid. If you’re not in a rush, you can set the zappi to ECO+ mode, which will pause the charge if too much power is being imported and continue only when enough surplus power is available.
A separate FAST mode allows the car to be charged at maximum power, just as it would at any other charge point. The three different charge modes put you back in the driving seat when it comes to when and how your electric car is charged.
A carbon-free energy tariff
Ready for the new regulations that come out this year, the zappi is easy to install and is the only charger that doesn’t require an earth rod. There are three different options: tethered, untethered and three-phase 22kW (destination charging), all available in black and white.
Myenergi has partnered with Octopus Electric Vehicles to provide electric car owners with seamless access to carbon-free driving at 1p/mile.
Click here to find out why the myenergi zappi is a MyGreenPod.com Hero
A special Octopus Energy tariff, Octopus Energy Go, has been designed specifically for electric vehicle drivers; it automatically charges cars when the low, off-peak rate kicks in. Octopus Electric Vehicles will be offering the zappi range as part of its electric vehicle bundle when customers buy or lease an electric car. The zappi will also be offered to businesses that want to offer charging to their customers.
Smart tech for greener homes
Myenergi has also launched a new hub device and app to connect customers’ products to the internet. This means that the zappi can be controlled remotely and data around product usage and savings can be viewed live.
The new zappi went on pre-order in December; the first 1,000 units are currently being produced ahead of a wider rollout in March and April 2019. It’s part of a wider range of smart tech products from myenergi, all designed to make more efficient use of home-generated power.
In addition to the zappi, the eddi diverts wind and solar power to heat water in the home, while the harvi allows the other two products to work without a current transformer (CT) being hardwired. The harvi provides wireless monitoring of the supply grid connection; it’s powered by the current sensor, and simplifies the zappi installation. The full range has everything you need to be a true eco warrior – whatever the weather.
Simplifying the switch
Myenergi was founded in the summer of 2016 by technical director Lee Sutton and sales director Jordan Brompton. Lee Sutton develops the products with his team, and Jordan Brompton brings them to market. It’s the ultimate dream team: the company has grown from a small team of six and attracted investment from businessmen Sir Terry Leahy and Bill Currie of the William Currie Group.
Myenergi now has more than 300 installers around the UK, and is selling internationally to countries including Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden, with growing interest from the rest of the EU and the USA. Over the next two years, myenergi will be helping the UK energy industry and supporting the EV charging infrastructure as the uptake of electric vehicles increases. If you’re thinking about making the switch, the decision just got a whole lot easier.