A dumb EV charger is nothing more than a jacked-up power outlet with a Type 1 or Type 2 connector. Dumb chargers are usually untethered, acting as a simple power socket when you plug your car in.
As the name implies, ‘dumb’ chargers don’t connect to a dedicated app. They are pure plug and play devices. However, as with a 3-pin socket, your EV will still collect and crunch basic data from charging sessions like charge time and kWh added.
This means you can use your vehicle’s companion app (if it has one) to schedule charging, stop charging, and view real-time charging data.
It begs the question – what’s the point of a smart charger if your electric vehicle already has an app for charging? We’ll look into this below.
Dumb charger advantages
Dumb chargers charge at speeds up to 7.4kW on single-phase, adding up to 30-miles of range per hour, so they are just as fast as smart chargers.
For some people, a dumb EV charger is all that is needed for EV ownership. If all you want to do is plug in and charge, a dumb charger will suit you fine.
Dumb chargers also make good secondary EV chargers. If you have more than one electric car and need another way to fast charge, a dumb charger will be cheaper and simpler to install than another smart charger.
In terms of cost, the QUBEV dumb charger costs around £299 online, with installation costing around £150.00, so you are looking at £450.00 all in.
A smart charger will start from around £650 with the OZEV grant, which contributes £350. Without the OZEV grant, which ends for homeowners on 31 March 2022, EV charger installation costs are £899 to £1,399 on average.
Dumb charger disadvantages
Dumb chargers are jacked up power outlets, nothing more. They don’t know when to stop charging and will continue charging your car all day.
On the other hand, smart chargers give you complete control over charging, including scheduled charging times, kWh price caps and solar integration to charge a car with solar panels. In other words, a smart charger compliments your smart electric car.
However, the big disadvantage of dumb chargers is they don’t collect energy usage data, which isn’t good when you run your car on electricity.
Here are the features you miss out on with a dumb charger:
- Scheduled charging
- Battery capacity limits
- kWh price gaps
- Solar integration
- App control, incl. device lock/unlock
- Data on your smartphone, incl. load management events, charging analytics
You can turn your dumb charger smart with a smart cable
If you go down the dumb charger route, you can always turn it into a smart charger with the Ohme Intelligent EV Charging Cable, which includes Ohme’s smart charging technology for scheduling and charger control.
The Ohme cable acts as a communication device, letting you control your dumb charger from your phone, set kWh rates and set charging power limits. It works extremely well and brings smart charging to all untethered dumb EV chargers.
Commando sockets are another option
If all you want to do is plug in and charge your EV with no smart stuff, a Commando socket will do the same job as a dumb charger.
A Commando socket can provide up to 7.4kW of power; the only difference is the Commando socket end, which may require an adapter for you to use your EV’s charging cable. Also, the socket is blue and less inconspicuous.
Commando sockets can also be used to power devices, so they offer more utility than dumb EV chargers with a fixed connector.
If you go down the Commando route, you can also get a Commando version of the Ohme Intelligent EV Charging Cable to unlock smart features. However, when you add up the cost, it is usually cheaper to just get a smart charger.
Dumb chargers are plug and play devices that get the job done. You can still control charging sessions via your vehicle’s companion app (if it has one), but these apps are not as feature-rich as smart charger apps, so the experience isn’t as good.
Smart chargers are superior to dumb chargers, but if all you want to do is plug in and charge, and your vehicle app does the job of controlling charging sessions, a dumb charger could be all you need.
Check out our latest EV charger reviews for ideas.