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EV Charging 101

EV Charging 101

Whether you’re driving or considering an electric vehicle (EV), it is good to familiarise yourself with the topic as a whole. 

With their zero-emission capabilities and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, EVs are not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective in the long run. 

The following guide will help you to understand EV charging.

Power vs Energy

The two units you will see are kW and kWh. It can be easy to mix these up or use them interchangeably, but the two units are quite distinct.

  • kW refers to power. This is how quickly you charge your EV battery.
  • kWh refers to energy. This is how much energy your EV battery can store.

An EV will drive 1 kilometre for every 0.2kWh of stored energy.

Electricity Rates

The primary cost of charging an EV at home is the electricity consumed during the charging process. The good news is that electricity rates are generally lower than gasoline prices, making EV charging more affordable.

Considering a petrol cost averaging around $1.80, and 8 litres of petrol needed for driving 100km, the cost of travelling 100km would be $14.40.

An EV will require around 20kWh to drive 100km. An average usage tariff would be around 20c per kWh, so the cost of driving 100km would be $4.00.

By powering the EV battery with solar panels, the net cost will be equal to the feed-in tariff rate per kWh, averaging around 8c. 

Charging Equipment

To charge your EV at home, you will need to invest in a charging station or a wall-mounted charger.

Popular choices are Zappi’s EV charger, Tesla’s EV charger, and SolarEdge’s EV charger.

An EV charger safely passes electricity into the car’s battery by checking if electricity is needed.

An RCD is built into most EV chargers’ hubs. This is a circuit breaker that will trip if any electricity escapes.

How Long to Charge an EV Battery

The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle (EV) battery depends on several factors, including the type of charger and the battery capacity of the vehicle.

Type 1 Charger:

A Type 1 charger, also known as a Level 1 charger, typically delivers power at a rate of 1.4 to 1.9 kilowatts (kW). With this charger, it can take anywhere from 8 to 20 hours to fully charge an EV battery, depending on its capacity. Type 1 chargers are commonly used with a standard household electrical outlet (120 volts) and are suitable for overnight charging.

Type 2 Charger:

A Type 2 charger, also known as a Level 2 charger, provides power at a higher rate, usually ranging from 3.6 to 22 kilowatts (kW). With a Type 2 charger, the charging time is significantly reduced compared to a Type 1 charger. Depending on the battery capacity, it can take approximately 4 to 8 hours to fully charge an EV battery using a Type 2 charger.

AC vs DC charging

Household appliances use AC electricity.

EV chargers used at the home also work on AC electricity. They regulate how many kilowatts of 230V AC goes into the car.

The EV charger does not directly charge the battery, often there is a built in AC to DC inverter within the car. This is as all batteries charge and discharge DC electricity.

DC electricity can be used for fast charging EVs.

Single Phase vs Three Phase

Three-phase charging may not be necessary for home use if your electric vehicle (EV) does not have an onboard inverter powerful enough to handle the full 22 kW AC of three-phase charging. 

Most EVs can only handle up to 11kW of AC power, which is half the maximum power capability of three-phase charging. 

Single-phase charging with a 7kW charger should be sufficient for a single EV unless you need to charge quickly or have multiple EVs. 

Three-phase charging is useful if you have multiple EVs or a large solar system and want to maximise solar energy usage. It may add around $300 to the hardware cost and at least $400 to the installation cost.

Final Note

When choosing an EV charger, consider features such as the option to top up the car from excess solar generation, compatibility with a home battery, dynamic load balancing, advanced dynamic load balancing, a longer charging cable, time of use tariff handling, network connectivity, PIN code lock, multi-user capability, and OCPP compatibility for futureproofing. These features can enhance the functionality and convenience of your EV charging experience.

FAQs

Q: What is EV charging?

A: EV charging refers to the process of recharging an electric vehicle’s battery using an electric charging station. It is similar to refuelling a conventional vehicle, but instead of gasoline or diesel, it uses electricity.

Q: What types of EV charging stations are available?

A: There are three main types of EV charging stations: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging. Level 1 chargers use a standard household outlet and provide the slowest charging speed. Level 2 chargers require a dedicated circuit and provide faster charging. DC Fast Charging stations are the fastest and can charge an electric vehicle to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.

Q: Can I charge my electric vehicle at home?

A: Yes, you can charge your electric vehicle at home. If you have access to a standard household outlet, you can use a Level 1 charger. Alternatively, you can install a Level 2 charger for faster charging. It is recommended to consult an electrician for proper installation.

Q: Can I use different charging stations for my electric vehicle?

A: Yes, electric vehicles are compatible with different charging stations, as long as they have the correct plug type and charging capacity. Most electric vehicles use the standard Type 1 or Type 2 connectors, but it’s always a good idea to check your vehicle’s specifications to ensure compatibility.

Q: Can I overcharge my electric vehicle?

A: No, modern electric vehicles are equipped with built-in charging systems that prevent overcharging. Once the battery reaches its maximum capacity, the charging process automatically stops. However, it is recommended to unplug the vehicle once it is fully charged to conserve energy.

Q: Are EV charging stations environmentally friendly?

A: Yes, EV charging stations are considered environmentally friendly because they enable the use of clean, renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power. Charging an electric vehicle produces zero tailpipe emissions, reducing air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.

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