A beginner’s guide to EV charging
Most cars today waste 75% of the energy in petrol. We could use heroic efforts to make them a bit more efficient – or we could just electrify the vehicle, use energy from wind or solar, and reduce our energy needs to a third or less.
“Saul Griffith – Author of the big switch”
EV’s are all the rage these days, most people now either have one, are buying one, or are at least very curious how it all works.
Things to consider when installing an EV charger
Consider the following information when selecting an EV charger and determining which one suits your needs:
- Charging Speed and Duration:
- Home chargers typically allow overnight charging for approximately 8 hours, so speed may not be a significant factor.
- The longer your car remains parked, the less power is required.
- A 7kW charger can provide a range of about 40 km per hour of charge, while a 22kW charger can deliver a maximum of 120 km per hour of charge, depending on your car’s capabilities.
- Electric Car Plug Compatibility:
- Most electric vehicles (EVs) have both an AC (Alternating Current) port and a DC (Direct Current) port.
- AC charging ports are used for about 99.9% of home charging due to the high costs associated with installing DC chargers and the required infrastructure.
- Professional Installation:
- Only a qualified electrician should install an EV charging station.
- As EV chargers are new, not all electricians are experienced with them and as many do no own EV’s themselves, they may not understand your requirements fully.
- Ensure that your electrician is experienced in the feild and familiarises themselves with the installation guidelines thoroughly before beginning the process.
- Common mistakes to avoid include using undersized circuit breakers and cables or installing the charger on the wrong side of the garage for the vehicle you have purchased
- Cost Considerations:
- The installation costs of the charger can vary based on its location.
- Determine the distance between your parking space and the electricity box. If it is within 15 meters, the installation cost may be lower compared to a charger located on the other side of the property.
- Consider whether any groundwork will be necessary for the installation.
- Decide if the EV charger will be wall-mounted or if you will need an additional pedestal.
- It is recommended to choose an installation location that is convenient for everyday use and future-proof.
How do I find fast EV chargers?
To locate fast EV chargers, follow these steps:
- Online Charging Station Maps: Check out online charging station maps or websites specifically designed to help EV owners find charging stations. Some popular options include:
- These platforms allow you to search for charging stations based on location, charger type, availability, and charging speeds. They often provide user reviews and additional information about each charging station.
- EV Manufacturer Apps: Many electric vehicle manufacturers have their own smartphone apps that include charging station locators. These apps can help you find charging stations near your current location or along your planned routes. Examples include:
- Tesla mobile app
- MercedesMe app
- NissanConnect EV app
- BMW Connected app
- Check if your EV’s manufacturer offers a dedicated app for this purpose.
- Navigation Systems: Some in-car navigation systems or smartphone navigation apps include charging station locators as a feature. These systems can guide you to nearby charging stations and provide real-time availability information. Examples include:
- Google Maps
- Apple Maps
- Ensure that you have the latest software updates for accurate charging station data.
- Local Utility or Government Resources: Contact your local utility company or government agency responsible for transportation or energy initiatives. They may have information about public charging infrastructure and fast charging stations in your area.
- EV Community Forums and Groups: Engage with the electric vehicle community through online forums and social media groups. Other EV owners can provide recommendations and share their experiences with fast charging stations in your region.
By utilising these resources, you can easily find fast EV chargers near your location and plan your charging stops accordingly.
Charging an electric vehicle (EV) using solar power involves harnessing energy from the sun and converting it into electricity to charge the vehicle’s battery. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Install solar panels: First, you’ll need to install solar panels on your property, typically on the roof. Solar panels contain photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
- Solar inverter: The DC electricity generated by the solar panels needs to be converted into alternating current (AC) electricity to be compatible with the EV charger and your home’s electrical system. This is done using a solar inverter, which converts the DC electricity into AC electricity.
- Connect to the grid: If your solar panels generate more electricity than your EV can consume, the excess power can be fed back into the electrical grid, potentially earning you credits or compensation through a process called net metering. This allows you to use the grid as a virtual “storage” system for your excess solar power.
- EV charger: Install an electric vehicle charging station or a dedicated outlet to charge your EV. The charger will be connected to your home’s electrical system and can be set up to draw electricity from the grid when your solar panels aren’t generating enough power.
- Time-of-use plans: Consider using a time-of-use (TOU) plan with your utility company. These plans offer different rates for electricity consumption based on the time of day. By charging your EV during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower, you can optimize cost savings.
- Monitor and control: Some solar systems and EV chargers come with monitoring and control capabilities. These allow you to track the amount of solar energy generated, monitor your EV’s charging progress, and even schedule charging times to align with peak solar production.
By combining solar power generation with an EV, you can reduce your carbon footprint and potentially save money by relying on renewable energy for your transportation needs. It’s worth noting that the size of the solar array and the capacity of the battery storage system, if applicable, will depend on factors such as your daily energy consumption and driving patterns. Consulting with a professional solar installer can help you determine the optimal setup for your specific requirements.
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About your author...
On a mission to electrify Australia. Luke is known for being at the forefront of his industry offering design, supply, installation and advice on solar panels, solar batteries, lighting, electric vehicles and chargers.
Luke has been known to invest most of his time (and money) in helping people create and experience new lifestyles through clean energy at home, business and with their cars. As well as investing his time training the next generation of climate enthusiasts through his team at Lightning Energy.