What do I need to know about EV chargers?

If you’ve reached this article then the chances are you’ve tentatively made the decision to consider purchasing an electric vehicle (EV). With EV comes the need to charge, so what exactly should you be looking for? Read on to find out more.

What do I need to charge my EV at home?

First things first – you need a power point. Yes, it might seem obvious, but you need to think about the logistics of running power to where you’re going to be keeping the car overnight to recharge.

When at home, the simplest method for charging is using the level 1 charging (AC trickle charging) cable supplied with the car you buy. This is then plugged into a regular power point, usually in the garage. This option is suitable as long as the car is able to stay charged for 10-12 hours at a time as it delivers a slower charge than other types of chargers (some cars can take up 36 hours to fully charge using this method), and the car is driven less than 100km per day. 

It’s important to note, however, that this method of charging does need to be safety tested and conform to the following regulations:

  • Include a Type A safety switch on the circuit containing the EV charger. 
  • The charging point needs to be wired directly back to the switchboard.
  • It’s recommended that screwed connections be used so that the plug cannot move whilst charging and cause power failures. 

If you’re looking for a faster charge then you would need a level 2 charger (AC fast charging) installed at your home. If there are multiple drivers to your car or where the car isn’t able to sit for over 12 hours to charge, this is a better long-term investment as it can deliver a full charge to most EVs far quicker.

A level 2 charger, which is wall mounted and works using your normal 240V single-phase wiring, is also needed if you drive more than 100km per day. These chargers also have more robust connection pins to ensure there’s no movement during charging. They can also be controlled from your phone, perfect if you’re utilising your solar panels specifically to charge your car. It’s also a pretty good investment considering that the wall-box will normally cost around $1,000 to $1,500 dollars plus the installation charge. 

The fastest level of charging is a level 3 charger (DC rapid charging) which is only available at public charging points as they need more power to operate than your home can supply. 

How do I charge my EV when out and about?

When you’re out at about, you’ll need to know where the chargers are in your area or on your route. In Australia, there are around 2,500 public chargers (many on major highways and in cities). The good news is that this number is growing. Currently the NRMA is rolling out a charger network across NSW and construction works have begun on the world’s longest electric vehicle highway in WA.

When it comes to charging your EV when you’re out, you will almost always need to set up an account with the company that owns the charger, though this is a simple process and will use a smartphone app for payment and management.

These chargers are AC chargers, the fastest level 3 charger, and are often available in car parks, workplaces and shopping centres. The best part is that if you’re shopping or working for just two hours you could get up to 240km distance from one charge, based on a 22kW charger.

What are the costs of charging my EV?

Depending on the electricity tariff and the kilowatt of the car’s battery, you could be paying as little as $12 for a full charge. This is based on fully charging a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery, with a tariff of 30 cents per kWh, from 10% charge to full.

You also need to be mindful that where your car is parked is not too hot or cold as extreme temperatures can affect the battery efficiency. 

If you have solar, this is also another plus for reducing costs, though bearing in mind most people charge their cars at night, so having a solar battery is important to keep overall charging costs lower. 

Key takeaways

Essentially, if you have a smaller battery powered car and you drive fewer than 100kms per day you will be able to charge your car easily at home using level 1 charging. However, if you’re looking for a faster, more efficient charging experience it’s best to invest in a wall-mounted level 2 charging point at home.

It’s important to understand the route you are taking and plan ahead to avoid running out of battery when you’re out and about. Over the next few years, the number of charging points will grow exponentially, meaning there will be more and more demand for electric vehicles, hopefully eliminating the need for so much preparation.

Using solar as the main power source for at home charging can not only help reduce the use of fossil fuels but could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Arrange and install with one of our certified installers and we will ensure you get the correct set up for your make and model. View and compare the chargers we offer and get in contact to arrange a quote.