Revolutionising EV Charging at Ohme With Smart Technologies

Ohme CEO David Watson Explores the Future of EV Charging, Working With Energy Companies & Partnering With Volkswagen, Polestar, Mercedes-Benz & More

David Watson is the CEO and co-founder of EV charging platform Ohme. The idea for Ohme was born in 2017 out Watson’s previous background in renewable energy projects, with parent company Temporis Capital.

“Our first product was a smart cable as we felt that by controlling the charge through that, then you wouldn’t have to rely on the car. This was then developed into today’s home charger range, the Home Pro and the ePod that we sell today.”

Ohme’s unique technology and software can integrate with off-peak EV tariffs, such as those from Octopus and OVO, and help EV drivers to reduce their running costs by charging both at the times that are cheapest and when renewable energy generation is at its highest – so low cost and low CO2.

“We are now the official charging partner for several OEMs including the Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz and Polestar as well as Volvo Cars in Ireland, plus we are partners with Motability, the UK’s largest fleet operator, which helps drivers with disabilities and their families.”

Here, Watson tells us more about energy tariffs, smart charging and the future of EV charging.

David Watson

How do you support EV drivers and reduce running costs for them?

“When I first started, I thought as everyone within my own circle knew about cheaper energy tariffs, I wrongly assumed that everyone did. Public awareness is thankfully slightly better now, but a large number still don’t understand these tariffs.

“Many would drive 10-15 miles to save a few pence on a litre of petrol or diesel, so why wouldn’t they change a few preferences in an app to move their electricity load around or change to an energy supplier that provided such tariffs?

“We’ve now started programmes of educating drivers on the alternatives of how they can get a cheaper charge for their cars. We’re also working with leasing companies so that they can talk intelligently about energy and they can pass that on at point of sale. Every unit of electricity that’s shifted to off-peak, it’s not just cheaper for that person, it’s cheaper for everybody.”

How do you work with energy companies?

“The amount of grid service that you can offer as a side product of EVs is quite significant. Turning off an EV charging, from the grid operator’s perspective, is effectively the same as pumping the same energy into the grid. So with dynamic smart charging you can provide a large number of grid services.

“Originally most energy suppliers didn’t think that people would be interested in complicated tariffs, but I felt they would if they had the technology to make it easier to move that load, which they can with us.

“By making the cars dynamic with our Ohme chargers, having smart suppliers and having these connected devices, you’re implicitly making the grid smart, which unlocks a huge amount of value which didn’t exist in the previous system.”

EV Charging and Smart Technologies

What do the next 12 months hold for Ohme?

“For Ohme, the UK was the best place in the world to start with EV penetration. It had a large amount of renewables, it had a couple of forward looking energy suppliers and it had a forward looking grid operator. The UK is ahead of the rest of the world in terms of smart technology both in terms of charging and also with the grid itself.

“The UK is ahead, but we need to move that charge around at scale and now is the time when we can export that knowledge to other countries. From Ohme’s view, we’ve pushed ahead in Ireland and Belgium and now we’re launching into France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Scandinavia then Australia.

“It’s now all about exporting that technology. What’s interesting is the shift in mindset across the energy providers and grid operators in Europe. There’s a desire to want to learn from the UK and try to accelerate their position. Historically they had very centralised systems and the whole of Europe is effectively connected and distributed energy is being installed, so that volatility is there.

“So they need these customer centric solutions that can help them move that load around that can help them to match supply, so it’s a huge opportunity to expand internationally.

“Domestically, the next side is flexibility, it’s how do we respond to the system operators and DNOs and help them balance the grid. Winter flex is coming up which drivers can participate in and we’re developing that and we’re also doing Crowdflex with the National Grid, OVO and Octopus. That helps us to bring large numbers of drivers into flexibility services and running trials to see how different drivers react to different stimuli. It’s about us helping to move with those early adopters to an early majority.

“When it comes to OEMs, we’ve already partnered with the Volkswagen Group and Polestar in the UK and Ireland as well as Mercedes-Benz in the UK as well as several large dealer groups and there will be more coming in 2024 for us to announce too. 

“Energy and transport have historically always been two separate industries and now they’re coming together with different players with different roles. At Ohme we can help facilitate outcomes on that and give them access to the cheapest and most reliable outcomes. We’ve had to build more and more solutions for different customers, so our next step is to push that same approach into Europe and beyond.”


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