Charging your electric car at home (7)

You can readily charge small electric cars, such as a Nissan Leaf, at home or at work from any 15 amp power point via a power cable that plugs into the car’s on-board charge. Most such vehicles have a charging unit inbuilt but it is worth checking with the vehicle maker for charging options available.

If used for typical commuting (of 40-50 km a day), re-charging takes 2.5 -5 kilowatt/hours. One kilowatt hour is that which many refer to as ‘one unit’ and during off-peak periods may cost less.

This guide gives some indication of how many kilometres you can drive when charging typical electric cars from a home or similar supply at their maximum rate via that inbuilt charger.

TypeMaximum charge (kW)km per hour of charging
BMW i37.425
Chevy Spark EV3.311
Fiat 500e6.622
Ford Focus Electric6.622
Ford Focus Electric6.622
Mercedes B-Class Electric1029
Mitsubishi i-MieEV3.311
Nissan Leaf3.3 – 6.611 – 22
Smart Electric Drive3.311
Tesla Models S & X10-2029-58


Charging is readily done overnight but solar captured during the day can be sold to the electricity supplier. See also Electric vehicles solar charging at our associated website: solarbooks.com 

Currently (2019) AGL (in NSW) is offering 20 cents per kilowatt/hour (on a two year contract). That’s not that much less than you pay for buying it back off-peak. Other suppliers have probably negotiable offers.

Most of Australia’s suppliers charge about 25 cents per kilowatt hour (off-peak) so even if not using solar it will cost only a dollar or two a day to travel to and from work. This is far less than for even small petrol-fuelled cars: most use at least 5 litres per 100 km – typically costing (in May 2019) about $7. 

You are likely to need an additional meter for a dedicated electric car charging tariff. It may also be necessary to have an electric charging point set up by your electrical contractor. You can save money if you switch to an economy tariff for off peak charging overnight. To be on an economy tariff, you must have a hard-wired dedicated EV charging point. A standard electrical power point isn't permitted as it does not take long to work out that’s a cheap source also for other purposes!

If you charge from your solar system (see Solar Charging Your Electric Car at Home) recharge costs can be further reduced - with the added benefit of no CO2 emissions from this renewable energy source.

Some electric car dealers include a home charging assessment price and/or a consultation with a licensed electrical contractor as part of the car’s purchase price.

Home charging set-up cost 

The cost of home charging from grid power primarily varies with local electricity price tariff and charging options.

A Victorian electric vehicle report noted that installing a home charging outlet costs around $1,750 for the charging circuit wiring, plus <$100 for a standard electrical power point, up to $500 for a basic dedicated EV charging unit and up to $2500 for a more advanced such unit. A licensed electrical contractor can advise re this.

Before going too far check the varying electricity tariffs for electric vehicle charging, already offered by many electricity suppliers.

If your choice of charging rate exceeds the standard fuse or circuit breaker rating, those too must be upgraded – but that cost is not high.

If solar power is to be used, in urban areas this is likely to best done by feeding into the grid and buying it back at off-peak rates.  Here again – see Electric vehicles –solar charging at solarbooks.com.  

Charging at public charging outlets

An ever-increasing range of service station fast and super-fast chargers charge at rates as high as 135 kW. They can already fully recharge an EV battery in around 30 minutes. In practice, owners will use these only during long drives – and rely on routine charging at home and whilst at work. Electric car vendors too offer this.

There are already fast charging facilities around Australia – including right across the Nullabor.

See: Charge Stations in Australia (https://myelectriccar.com.au/charge-stations-in-australia) or ChargePoint. Prices vary from state to state etc – much as does petrol right now.

Many existing home grid-connect solar systems have excess capacity outside peak periods. Solar energy fed in during the day can be re-drawn during off-peak periods, for much the same price, to charge an electric car because many grid networks have excess capacity outside peak periods. Such charging extends battery life: all dislike ongoing deep discharges.

Summary

It is already totally feasible to charge cars from home and office solar and is being done by many owners right now. Our associated website solarbooks.com has specific details.

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