Electric Vehicles are growing more popular by the day. Thanks to NZ's Clean Car Discount, EVs are now more affordable, which only encourages more Kiwis to buy one.
EV Charging at Home should start to become more common as it is one of the main advantages of having an EV, after all. With that in mind, how does one make their home EV-ready?
When switching from petrol to voltage, you’ll have to think about how fast it will take your EV to charge. Remember that unless you’re using a fast charger (which isn’t always recommended for daily use), charging your EV to full could take up to 30 hours using a standard current-generation Nissan Leaf as reference, compared to the minutes it usually takes a petrol car to fill up at the station. And this is for an average-sized EV battery as well. Some cars like Tesla may even push the capacity up to 100kWh.
This does lead to people treating their EVs as a mobile phone of sorts, where you plug them in and charge overnight to have enough juice for the next day. A home charging station is thus useful for this function. New EVs come with a charger compatible with a standard three-pin home power outlet. Cars can also limit this in order to reduce the load on your home’s wiring and power supply.
While it may be tempting to get a fast charger for your home, the reality is that you may not necessarily need fast charging all the time. Owning plug-in hybrids with a limited, electric-only range also means that you may not necessarily rely on just their battery for long drives. Quick charging is mostly just needed on long trips.
In this case, it’s just much easier to charge on a public fast charger rather than spending money on having one installed at home.
When it comes to choosing a home charger, you can usually choose between a 22kW with a three-phase power delivery or 7.4kW with a single-phase charger. However, a quick note to think about is that not all EVs support three-phase power delivery, despite being the faster of the two. On the other hand, every EV has single-phase charging.
When it comes to EV charging at home, you also need to consider the capacity of the electrical circuit you’ll be using to charge the car. Trying to charge your EV at an equal rate or greater than the capacity of your wiring will cause the circuit breaker to flip. Try keeping the charging rate at 80% of the circuit’s capacity to avoid this, unless the circuit is rated for continuous use.
Fortunately, most charging stations can be set to limit the charging speed, if you don’t need to use a fast rate of charging as well. And if this isn’t enough, many EVs now come with the capability of changing your charging speeds and limits.
Lastly, you may also want to consider the possibility of buying another EV in the future. If this is in your plan, you may want to get higher capacity wiring and a charger capable of accommodating two vehicles at the same time.
A wall-mounted charger can be installed in your garage. For those who only park their car outdoors in order to accommodate driveway installations and other things, there are also options you can install for this purpose.
A qualified installer can usually assess the best type to install for your home, so you don’t have to worry about this.
In addition to the factors discussed above, you may also want to consider the following features some EV owners look for in a device for EV charging at home.
It’s important to get a qualified electrician to assess your home and your electrical infrastructure for installing a home charger. They will be able to give you a full quote based on location, capacity, and other existing infrastructure so you’ll have a better understanding when it comes to EV charging at home, and how to keep safe while doing so.
And while it’s probably advisable to charge your vehicle overnight, you don’t necessarily need to do so if cost is a concern for you. Unless you’ve been using up all of your battery throughout the day, your EV tends to be very good at retaining its charge for much longer. Its battery doesn’t discharge much if you’re just leaving it parked in the garage thanks to fewer moving parts and perishable items.
So if you don’t always like worrying and asking yourself “how to find EV charging stations near me” whenever you drive, you may want to look into getting a home charger installed. It may seem a bit daunting at first but perhaps savings and convenience will be worth it for you in the end.
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