Why do You need To Buy And Install An EV Charger?
One of the breakthroughs of the World Leader Summit in Glasgow during the 2021 conference in October and November was the agreement by 30 countries to make zero-emission vehicles the new norm by 2030 or sooner. The urgent move to electric vehicles has been highlighted by the sudden increase in petrol prices compounded by the war in Ukraine. Australia currently imports 83% of the crude oil it processes into petrol. With climate catastrophes and the lingering effects of Covid-19 causing 30% of Australians to live paycheck to paycheck, the need for cheaper, sustainable electric cars has never been more pronounced. Sales of electric cars soared 200% in Australia in 2021 with many states and territories now pledging to electrify their entire fleets of public buses.
The need for electric cars comes with a need for electric car home chargers so that your car’s battery can receive the juice it needs while parked outside your house. There are a dizzying amount of EV chargers coming to the market, and choosing which one is right for you can be confusing. Here, we’ll attempt to clarify things and put you on the fast track to leading your new fossil-free life.
Things You Need To Be Aware of Before Beginning Your Search For an EV Home Charger
There are currently two types of residential chargers to choose from — Level 1 & Level 2.
Level 1 chargers deliver a charge at 110 or 120 volts. They require no additional wiring if you plan to use it at home — simply plug and charge. The drawback — there’s always a drawback — is that they are slow and can take more than a day to charge your car — so if you need to go somewhere in a hurry, this won’t help your cause.
A Level 2 charger, as the name implies, is faster. It can deliver 220 to 240 volts of charge. However, these also have a drawback — you’ll need an electrician to help with the EV charger installation. All the new chargers cost between AU$800 and AU$1600 (not including installation). Many are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. They can be pre-programmed and can often be both plug-in or hardwired.
Indoor and Outdoor Chargers
Another consideration when choosing an EV charger is where you park your vehicle. If you park outside, you’ll need to buy a weatherproof charger which can still be affected by the climate. Also, if you’re parking outside, Level 2 chargers come with varying cable lengths. Make sure you choose one that’s long enough.
What is an On-Board Controller, and Why Does it Matter?
You’ll also have to pay attention to your EV’s onboard controller (OBC). It’s an interface that manages the communication between your EV and its corresponding charging station. EV batteries require DC to charge, so if you have an AC charger, you’ll need a converter between the charging socket and the battery. AC charging vehicles usually include an onboard charger/controller that moves around with the car, receiving the mains charge and converting it to DC voltage at the required level. If you’re choosing a home EV charger it’s a good idea to check that your OBC can manage the flow of electricity from the grid to your EV’s battery. This means your OBC must be compatible with the grid locations where it will be used and with the charger you intend to use.
Pros & Cons of a Tethered and Untethered (Socket) Home Charger
As the name suggests, a tethered charger contains everything in one location — the charger and the cables that attach to your car to charge. It’s a bit like driving up to a petrol pump and filling up your car, then driving off. Tethered home chargers are nearly always Level 2 chargers. The only foreseeable downside to these is if the charging technology changes or the user decides to purchase an EV with different charging technology (a CHAdeMO charger, for example). Also, you have to make sure you wind the cable back up to store neatly after each charging session or you might risk driving over it.
A socket charger is just as it sounds — a wall socket, that you plug your car in to charge. In this case, you provide the charging cables (which usually come with your car.) However, it’s still inconvenient to take them out and put them back in before and after each charge. The upside of a tethered charger is that you are future-proof. Should the cable requirements change you can always upgrade, less importantly, the charger looks neater and takes up less space on your wall than a tethered charger as there are no dangling cables.
The Pros of Smart Chargers
Cloud-based smart chargers allow EVs and a charging device to share a data connection. The advantage of smart charging is that it allows owners to improve energy consumption by managing how much energy is given to a charging EV. For instance, it can limit the energy usage during peak hours when it is most expensive and when most people are using the grid, decreasing the grid’s burden and the cost of charging. Equally, smart charging allows utility companies to limit energy consumption according to local grid capacities and specific energy tariffs.
Traditional or “dumb” chargers do not have this capability and thus energy usage and cost cannot be optimized.
Once an EV owner plugs in their car, the charger (both public and private varieties exist) sends important data (charging time, speed) to a cloud-based management platform via WiFi or Bluetooth. This allows the following important features:
The data collected can be used to automate how and when EVs are charged.
Charging operators can regulate energy usage via the platform, website, or mobile app.
EV users can use a mobile app to pay for their energy usage from any location at any time.
Power Sharing, also known as load balancing or leveling allows network operators and businesses to distribute energy usage amongst multiple chargers so as not to overpower the building’s maximum power capabilities.
Power Boost (aka Peak Shaving) performs a similar function for residential use, restricting homeowners from exceeding their home’s maximum energy capacity by balancing the load and saving money. This can all be programmed and controlled by a smart charger.
We Are Here to Help!
Our EV Powerhouse experts pride themselves on assisting our clients to meet their personal, business, and commercial needs. If you would like more information on our product range, installation, or have other inquiries, contact us through our website at evpowerhouse.com.au