Are you thinking of purchasing an electric vehicle? If so, you’re in the majority. Recent surveys have found that three in five Australians would consider going electric for their next car purchase.
However, at present we are behind the rest of the world with uptake of electric cars. Currently 1.5 per cent of cars sold in Australia are electric and plug-in hybrid – compared to 28 per cent in Germany and 85 per cent in Norway.
What’s been holding us back?
The main obstacle has been price as the number of affordable electric cars in Australia has been limited. It’s a different story in other countries – like Germany, the UK and Norway – where governments have put in place policies to incentivize car-owners to switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric.
However, the lack of government support for EVs in Australia is set to change. The newly elected Labour Government has pledged to provide an Electric Car Discount to make electric cars more affordable. The Electric Car Discount will come into effect on 1 July 2022 and will reduce the price on a $50,000 electric car (such as the Nissan Leaf) by around $2,000.
With more government-backed price incentives, Australian should become a more attractive EV market for car manufacturers. As result, the number of EV models on the market should increase and prices become more competitive.
The other main barrier to uptake has been concern amongst car owners that the charging infrastructure isn’t sufficient for longer trips. Fortunately, this is changing with fast chargers springing up across metro and regional Australia. And with the Labour Government’s plan to invest in a national electric vehicle charging network, there should soon be fast charging stations every 150km on Australia’s major transport routes.
So, it looks like the future is bright for electric cars in Australia.
This might get you thinking: ‘What can I do to get my home ready for EV charging?’
This blog provides some practical pointers to help you get the right set-up for efficient EV charging at home:
- Installing your charger – where’s best?
- Power supply – have you got enough?
- Solar power – can you charge your electric car for free?
- Apartment dwellers – what are your options?
Installing your charger – where’s best?
The obvious place to install your EV charger is in the garage or carport. The main points to consider are:
- Make sure you have a signal
- EV chargers need to communicate with your smartphone app to tell your car when to charge. Most do this through WiFi so it’s important to check you have a strong WiFi signal at the location where you want the charger installed.
- Which side of the garage or carport do you want the charger?
- Check where the charging port is located on your car. Some electric cars have the port on the front, others on the side of the vehicle or at the rear.
- Consider how this is going to work given the way you normally drive into your garage. For instance, whether you normally drive straight in, or reverse in. You’ll want to make sure the charging cable will easily reach the port, in a way that’s neat and tidy so you won’t trip over it.
- Do you need a roof over the garage?
- Most EV chargers are fully weatherproof so having a roof over your garage or carport isn’t essential.
Power supply – have you got enough?
- Single-phase or three-phase power supply?
- You first need to check whether your home is on a single-phase or three-phase power supply. Most older homes are single-phase, whereas many newer homes are three-phase.
- To work out what type of power supply your home has, go to your switchboard and check the width of the main switch. If it’s one ‘pole’ wide, you’re on single-phase; if it’s three ‘poles’ wide and looks like a triple switch, you have a three-phase power supply.
- How fast can you charge an electric car on single-phase and three-phase power?
- With a single-phase power supply, you should be able to charge an electric car at 7.2kWh, which adds around 40 kilometres of range per hour. This compares with around 12 kilometres of range per hour on a standard power point.
- If your home is on three-phase power, this will support faster charging – at around 22kWh, or 120 kilometres of range per hour.
- These figures will of course vary depending on the model car and battery.
- Is it worth getting three-phase power to your property?
- If you’re doing a new build, the answer is – in most cases – yes. This is because the additional cost of installing three-phase is not much more than single-phase. And the benefits of having three-phase power can far outweigh the cost particularly if you are planning to make your home all-electric, powered by solar.
- Will I need a dedicated circuit?
- Yes, to comply with relevant standards a technician will need to install a dedicated circuit from the switchboard to the location of your charger.
- You will need to consider how far the switchboard is from the charger and how the cabling will get there. Is it possible to run it under the house or through your ceiling? It’s worth getting the advice of an electrician if you are unsure. However, if the switchboard is close to the charging location, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Solar power – can you charge your electric car for free?
- Solar panel system
- Adding an extra 5kW to 6kW to the size of your rooftop solar system should provide enough solar electricity to charge most EVs for free during the daytime. For most EV models, this should be enough to cover the typical daily commute.
- Solar battery storage
- Adding a home battery will allow you to charge your electric car overnight using your stored solar energy. This could be ideal if you aren’t home much during the day and want to get greater value from your surplus solar electricity than just exporting it to the grid in return for a small feed-in tariff.
Apartment dwellers – what are your options?
- New apartment complexes
- Most new apartment buildings have been built with EV charging infrastructure in mind. It’s worth asking as there’s a good chance that the set-up is already in place for fast charging.
- Older apartment buildings
- These can be more challenging for EV charging however there are several options, depending on what your owner’s corporation or strata manager will allow.
- For example, it may be possible to connect your apartment EV charger directly to your apartment’s meter. It all depends on how the metering is set up for the apartment complex.
- It’s worth getting in touch with the apartment body corporate to see if they have an EV charging policy. Chances are you won’t be the only person in the apartment who’s interested in charging an EV!
Want advice about EV charging and solar for your home?
If you would like to know about the feasibility of setting up efficient EV charging at your home that’s powered by solar – get in touch.
Solar and home EV charging are an ideal combination. A home EV charger makes it possible to generate an even better return from a rooftop solar system. That’s because the value of the solar energy is so much greater if you can use it to power your car for free.
At SolarRun, we’re not only experts in everything solar – we’re also a Registered Electrical Contractor with expertise in EV charging.
Take a step towards cheaper, cleaner driving. Talk to us today!