EV Charging Basics: FAQs

EV Charging Basics: FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions asked by new EV Drivers, which can be useful when learning about EV Charging. 

How does a Home EV charger work?

An EV charger works by converting alternating current (AC) from the power grid into direct current (DC) that can be stored in the vehicle's battery. The charger regulates the flow of electricity to ensure safe and efficient charging. It communicates with the vehicle to determine the optimal charging rate and duration.

What types of EV chargers are available?

There are three main types of EV chargers: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Chargers.

- Level 1 chargers are the most basic and typically come with the vehicle. They use a standard household outlet (120 volts) and provide a slow charging rate of about 3-8 kilometres of range per hour of charging. The benefit of these chargers is that they are portable and can be taken with you on a road trip. They are often referred to as trickle chargers!

- Level 2 chargers require a dedicated circuit and use a higher voltage (240 volts). They provide a faster charging rate of about 20-50 kilometres of range per hour of charging. Chargers such as the Zappi, are level 2 chargers. A certified electrician is required to install them and can be integrated with your solar or battery provided they are a smart charger. 

- DC Fast Chargers are the fastest charging option and are typically found at public charging stations. They deliver a high-powered DC charge directly to the vehicle's battery, allowing for rapid charging in 30 minutes to an hour. 

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

The charging time for an electric vehicle depends on several factors, including the charger type, the vehicle's battery capacity, and the current charge level. Level 1 chargers can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to fully charge a vehicle, while Level 2 chargers can typically charge a vehicle in 4 to 8 hours. DC Fast Chargers can provide an 80% charge in as little as 30 minutes.

How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

The cost of charging an electric vehicle varies depending on the electricity rates in your area and the charger type. On average, charging an electric vehicle at home with a Level 2 charger costs about 10-20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Charging at public charging stations may have different pricing structures, including per-minute or per-kWh rates.

Can I install an EV charger at home?

Yes, it is possible to install an EV charger at home. For Level 1 chargers, you can simply plug into a standard household outlet. However, for Level 2 chargers, you will need to hire a licensed electrician to install a dedicated circuit and the charging equipment. It is important to follow local electrical codes and regulations when installing an EV charger at home.

Is it safe to charge an electric vehicle?

Charging an electric vehicle is safe when done properly. EV chargers are designed with safety features to protect against overcharging, overheating, and other potential hazards. It is important to use chargers that are certified by recognized standards organizations and to follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe charging. 

What is the difference between a Tethered and Untethered Charger?

A tethered charger comes with a physical cable already attached to the charger unit, whilst an untethered charger does not come with a cable. If you purchase an untethered charger, you will also require a separate cable. The advantage of buying a sperate cable is that you can take the cable with you on road trips. Not all public charging stations have cables there to use, some require you to bring your own!

What connection type is my car?

Most cars in Australia have a Type 2/CCS connection. However, there are a few EVs, such as the earlier model Nissan Leaf that has a Type 1/CHAdeMO connection. There are adaptors that can be purchased or separate cables that will enable these EVs to connect to a Type 2 Charger such as the Zappi.