Making the choice to join the future of transport in Australia and buy an electric vehicle comes with its own range of benefits — and challenges. Tracking down the best home EV charger to keep your new set of wheels topped up is one of them.
States, territories, local governments, and private enterprises are rolling out a not-insignificant network of out-of-home chargers across Australia. But unless you spend all your life on the road, you’re going to be doing the vast majority of charging your EV at home.
Here’s our guide to how to do it and what to do it with.
Charging an EV at Home
The basics are that, yes, EVs can be charged at home. It’s also much cheaper and more convenient to do so than charging using public stations.
At-home EV charging can either be done with your standard wall-socket plug you’d find in any home or through a dedicated wall charger. The first option will take you a very long time to charge your car up, the second could have the job done in a few hours — under ideal conditions.
It’s these latter ones that people typically seek to get installed in their homes when they buy an EV and look for a convenient way to charge it.
There are currently six ‘levels’ of EV charging in Australia. Level one is single-phase charging, known as ‘trickle charging’ which gives you between 2.4 and 3.7 kW. Depending on your battery, this could take 5 to 16 hours to fill it up.
Level two charging is also single phase, but it gives an increased 7.2 kW through amping up the AC. This is known as an AC fast charger.
As a rule of thumb, each kW will give you that number of kilometres in range for every ten minutes it’s plugged in. Therefore, a fast charger will get you around 45 km of range per hour.
Other levels of charging use three-phase DC power and are typically only used in public spaces, owing to their massive output and the cost of installation. Not to mention the fact that the bigger ones look like a petrol bowser.
If you have access to three-phase power, you’ll be able to charge your vehicle faster. If you don’t, you’ll be maxing out at 7.2kW.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
In order to charge up, you’ll need electric vehicle supply equipment or ‘EVSE’. This is the term for the hardware that carries electricity from a source into your car. It’s comprised of a charging station — like a wall box or a public fast charger — and a charging cable.
Confusingly, the car itself contains the actual ‘charger’, which converts the incoming power from AC to DC to replenish the battery, but everyone will know what you’re talking about when you say ‘EV charger’.
All EVs will come with a standard wall plug and a cable to connect to a public fast charger. To access that sweet, sweet level two charging, you’ll need a charging station.
Best Home EV Chargers in Australia
When looking at a home charger, you’ll want to focus on the cost of the installation and features that are available. If you can’t access three-phase power, all chargers are going to output 7.2kW as a maximum. The following is all based on the assumption that you don’t have solar and are using single-phase power.
Installations for an EV at-home charger will run you between $500 and $2000, depending on where it’s going and any upgrades or equipment that are needed.
Unfortunately, many of the most popular brands overseas – like JuiceBox, ChargePoint, and Grizzl-e – don’t have domestic support at present.
The model you select is also going to be dependent on the model of EV you have. If it’s a Tesla, you’ll need to get a dedicated Tesla charger, as these use different plugs to other EVs. They’re actually quite highly rated chargers and have a sleek design to match your car.
EV Charger Manufacturers
If you don’t have a Tesla, the Ocular LTE Universal Charing Station is one of the most highly rated in Australia. It costs a relatively cheap $1050. Customers and electricians report that they’re easy to install, and they come with a useful LCD panel to provide information on the charge.
The LTE Universal Charger has an adjustable output to control the speed of charge and a range of protections to ensure no electrical faults. It weighs in at about 6kgs and can be easily mounted to a wall or to a post in your driveway. The company behind the charger, EVSE, is owned and run by EV drivers and is consistently given great reviews by consumers.
The Wallbox charger is offered through Jet Charge, the official partner of most EV manufacturers in Australia. Some dealers will offer bundled installation with the purchase of a new EV.
The charger uses an app to control and schedule charging output, comes with a 5m charging cable, and a three-year warranty. The price of the unit is $1,549.
The Smappee Smart Charger is one of the sleekest designs out there and can be used with solar charging. It’s Clean Energy Reviews’ top pick for an at-home EV charger. It also uses an app to control the output with a tonne of customisation options. The charger costs between $1,800 and $2,300, depending on the optional extras you buy.
Choosing a home EV charger can be a stressful decision. but, rest assured, once you make your choice, you’ll be grateful you opted to be able to juice up your ride much more rapidly at home.