A “dumb” charging station just charges the car, period. And for some owners, that’s all they care about.
A smart charging station has the ability to connect to WiFi or your smart phone and allow the owner to monitor their charging, check the power being delivered, review statistics from past charging sessions and more. This allows the owner to see exactly how much energy the car is using, so they can calculate how much the car costs to power. Without this feature, an EV owner can only guess how much the car is costing them to charge.
Some smart chargers can perform other tasks, like connecting to Amazon Alexa for voice-control of your charging, communicating with your utility so you can charge your car when the electricity provided is the “greenest” available (or cheapest, in regions with time-of-use rates), and even load-share so you can have two chargers on one dedicated circuit. Some smart chargers also permit remote diagnostics to notify you if there is a failure, and indicate what the issue may be.
If you want options like these, or you’re kind of a data-geek, you’ll definitely want a smart charging station.