Configuring Charge HQ for use with Amber Electric

Configuring Charge HQ for use with Amber Electric

If you're using Amber as your energy retailer, Charge HQ can integrate with your individual account so that it's aware of your live wholesale pricing.

To enable the Amber integration, follow the setup guide.

Suggested settings

Once you're connected to your Amber account there are three important controls to make use of: Max Price, Min Renewables and Scheduled Charging.

Users with rooftop solar

If you have rooftop solar, Charge HQ will always attempt to charge from the excess or gross solar production (unless the Do Not Charge Price limit is exceeded, see this FAQ), and this is often the cheapest and best time to charge if you can. Follow the guides on for setting up your solar hardware, and configuring solar tracking.

On the home screen set your charge limit to 90%, and solar charging will charge up to this level when possible.

For many users, rooftop solar won't always provide sufficient charge and so a top-up from the grid will be needed via Scheduled Charging as described below.

The Do Not Charge Price, Always Charge Price and Min Renewables settings do apply when charging from rooftop solar. You can read a high level description or a more detailed discussion of how they impact charging.

Users without rooftop solar

Charge HQ can take advantage of periods of low prices or high renewables generation when charging from the grid.

By default, Charge HQ will initiate charging as soon as you plug your vehicle in. Setting the Do Not Charge Price value will stop charging whenever the value is exceeded. So, start with a low price of say 20 c/kWh and charging will be stopped whenever your Amber price exceeds this value.

Similarly, you can set a Minimum Renewables value (say 40%) and charging will be stopped whenever renewables generation on the grid falls below this level.

For both values you can keep an eye on your Amber app, or use OpenNEM.org.au to get a feel for average prices and percentage renewables in the grid. Keep in mind that they will fluctuate during the year.

If you're not getting enough charging when power is cheap or renewables are high, you can keep tweaking your settings, or configure an Always Charge Scheduled Charging period to ensure your EV maintains the minimum level of charge you need for your regular driving.

The Always Charge Price is not utilised for users without rooftop solar.

Scheduled Charging

Charge HQ will always start charing at the beginning of this charging window if the EV requires charge. To minimise charging costs with Amber, it's best to set this time to coincide with a period that energy is most often cheap (or if you prefer, when renewable generation is high).

A guide to finding your cheapest time to charge:

  • Amber passes through network charges with their variable prices. These can either be flat rate (always the same), or time of use, which fluctuate based on a fixed daily schedule. To check which one you're on, open one of your monthly bills, scroll down to the page with Detailed Breakdown of Charges. If these include Peak, Off-Peak and Shoulder, and these all have different prices then you're on time of use. If they don't, you're on flat rate.
  • If you are on time of use, your cheapest energy will most often be during the off-peak window. If you can't charge during off-peak then aim to charge in the shoulder period.
  • In all parts of Australia other than regional Queensland and South Australia, off-peak periods are currently between 10pm and 7am.
  • In regional Queensland where the network is operated by Ergon, off-peak is during the day - 9am to 4pm, followed by a shoulder period between 9pm and 9am.
  • In South Australia, off-peak is during the day between 10am and 3pm, followed by a shoulder period between 1am and 6am.
  • Keeping in mind your underlying network tariffs, keep an eye on your live pricing in the Amber app and choose a time window that aligns with the lowest prices.
  • As a starting point for overnight charging, consider setting a charging for 4 hours from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.

Alternately, if you want to maximise charging from renewable energy, you can pick a time that coincides with maximum renewable energy generation on the grid. This is generally during the day in most states.

Next, consider how much charging you want to do during this scheduled charging period.

  • For Tesla vehicles we know what percentage charge the battery has at all times so you can set this in the charging schedule. Ideally set this to the minimum charge you need for your regular driving each day, e.g. 60%.
  • For non-Tesla vehicles where control is via your wall charger the amount of charge is controlled by the length and power level of the charging session.

Head over to our guide on Scheduled Charging for step by step instructions on setting it up.

Planned features

Currently Charge HQ primarily helps you avoid charging during high price periods and initiate charging during low price periods, but we're working on new features to for release in 2022 that will help you optimise your charging with Amber even further.

A "ready by" function will allow you to define a time that you need your EV charged by and the corresponding minimum level (e.g. 75% by 7am) and Charge HQ will attempt to automatically find the cheapest periods to charge your vehicle from the time you plug it in.

A charging history function is also planned so you can keep tabs on when Charge HQ is charging your EV.