If you are getting an electric car you’re probably thinking: how do i charge this thing at my place?
There are so many terms to learn, and who has time to learn them all? You just want to enjoy driving it, not learn a whole new field of knowledge. Imagine if you needed to learn all the technical details behind USB or Lightning port standards just to charge your mobile phone!
Well, we don’t think it should be that hard. So, in this blog post, we’re going to spare you all the talk about Levels, Modes, AC vs DC, and just put it in plain speak that we can all understand.
We’ve compiled a table of charging stations for various electric cars in Australia using the different charging methods at the end.
Let’s get into it.
Option 1: 10A GPO (some call it 240V outlet, a powerpoint, household outlet etc)
Almost all electric cars come with a portable charging cable that can be plugged into one of these (Renault and Nissan don’t come with one as standard):
That’s great because we all have one (and if you don’t, you might want to think about skipping an electric car for now).
The bad news is though that it charges SUPER slow (not yet an industry term). How slow? Around 8km of range per hour of charge. It’s great as an emergency cable though to be kept in your boot in case you want to charge somewhere out on the road. Power points are almost everywhere so you won’t get stuck.
It’s also suitable for Plug In Hybrid electric vehicles, which tend to have a smaller battery pack, and don’t need that long to charge up. It may also be useful for people who don’t travel far on a daily basis, and are happy to plug in every day.
Summary - 10A Power point charging
Often the cheapest way to charge
Comes with most cars
No additional cabling needed
Charges super slow
Frequent usage can result in loose connections with power point
Don’t get to keep the cable in the boot for emergencies or on the road charging
Plug in hybrids with small battery packs
Electric car drivers who don’t travel far
Plug your portable charging station into a power board
Use any double adapters
Put any other powerful appliances into the same power point circuit (eg vacuum cleaners, hair dryers etc)
One last thing:
Some manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi, actually supply you with a portable charging station that has a 15A power point fitting, which is to stop you from plugging it into power boards and adapters. Ironically, these still only charge at 10A. If you want to use these, you will need to install a 15A power point or get a 15A to 10A converter.
Make sure to visit JET Charge One for all your portable chargers and cable needs.
Option 2: Install a “charging station” on the wall
This is what most people will do if they have a Battery Electric Vehicle (rather than a Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).
By installing a dedicated charging station, you get much faster charge rates, anything from around 15km of range per hour of charge to 120km of range, depending on how much electrical capacity is available in your house and what your car is capable of.
When we say: “what your car is capable of” – it may surprise you to know that though the charging station might be labelled something like “22kW (kilowatts)”, that’s only the maximum it can deliver, or as we think about it: a speed limit. How fast you actually charge will depend on the size of the “onboard charger” in your car. Please refer to our handy guide on the JET Charge website.
The other great thing about having a dedicated charger is the ability to have a “garage of the future”. It’s just like having a fueling station in your own house! It’s also the safest way to charge, because you minimise the risk of loose cabling and wear and tear over time.
Installing a charging station requires running a cable from the charging station to your switchboard, much like a 15A power point or an air conditioner.
We recommend a trained professional to perform the installation – it just so happens that JET Charge has a nationwide network of trained professionals, and we’re the recommended installer for 9 vehicle brands, nationwide (that doesn’t happen by accident!).
Finally: you may hear people saying you can install something called a “DC Charging Station” in your house – but beware, these stations take more power than most houses are capable of, and are a lot more expensive. Please talk to us if you’re seriously thinking about going down this path.
Summary - Dedicated Charging Station
One of the fastest ways to charge – up to 10x faster than a power point.
Looks great on the wall.
Reduce wear and tear on electrical components.
Costs more to install than charging from a power points
Battery Electric Vehicles
Install the charging station yourself (you need to be a licenced electrician)
Buy charging stations from overseas that don’t have Australian certification
One last thing:
Most manufacturers will have standard install packages and recommended installers. We’ve listed them at the end of this blog.
Looking for a home charger? Visit JET Charge One to view all our selections.
Option 3: Use public charging stations only
There are some electric car drivers who will try to use purely public charging stations. This is especially true for Tesla drivers who can take advantage of the Tesla supercharger network.
As public charging infrastructure increases in prevalence, especially through projects like the Chargefox Ultra Rapid charging network, this will increasingly become a viable way of charging – replicating the traditional fueling experience.
However, we ask the question: why do that when you don’t have to? Why go out of your way to charge in a public location when you can do it in the comfort of your own home? Even if the public charging is “free”, you will more than pay for it through wasted time unnecessarily spent.
So our view is: charge at home most of the time, and use public charging stations when out and about.
What about all the things you haven’t talked about?
So in this blog post we haven’t talked about:
Plug types (which plug is suitable for which car)
Many other factors
Good point! We’re going to do separate posts on all of these issues. If you have any specific requests, please let us know!