Considering an all-electric car? Join the club! In fact, many of our G Store team and network are now driving electric vehicles, with more to transition in the coming months. Did you know that plug-in vehicles are predicted to make up 23% of new passenger vehicle sales globally in 2025, up from just under 10% in 2021. Three-quarters of those will be fully electric! (Electrek 2022).
As with any transition to better and more efficient technology, sometimes the possibilities, options and “new-ness” can be overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to make it easier.
One non-negotiable in choosing to opt for an electric car is getting the right charger. With a range of charging options possible including public/at-home locations and a variety of EV (Electric Vehicle) charger types on the market, getting the right advice is central.
In this article we’ll answer a number of the most frequently asked questions regarding EV chargers, empowering you with the best knowledge, tips and tricks for getting the right unit for your needs:
- What is an EV charger?
- What types of EV charger are available?
- How does an EV charger work?
- What type of EV charger is best for me?
- How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?
- Are there any grants or incentives for purchasing an EV charger?
Ready? Let’s go!
What is an EV charger?
An Electric Vehicle (EV) charger is an electrical device designed to recharge the battery of an electric vehicle, like a Tesla. It works by transferring electrical energy from the power grid to the vehicle’s battery pack – pretty simple, right?
Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Typically, an EV charger consists of two main components: an electrical cord with a plug on one end and a charging unit on the other end. The plug is inserted into an electrical outlet, either at a public charging station or in a home garage, and the charging unit is connected to the vehicle’s charging port.
What types of EV charger are available?
There are three main levels of EV chargers available, which differ in terms of the charging speed they provide:
Level 1 chargers use a standard household outlet and typically take 8 to 20 hours to fully charge an EV battery.
Level 2 chargers are more powerful and can charge an EV battery much faster, taking 4 to 6 hours. They require a dedicated circuit and can be installed in a home garage or at a public charging station.
Level 3 chargers, also known as fast chargers, can charge an EV battery to 80% in as little as 30 minutes. They are the fastest type of charger and are typically found at public charging stations.
Also available for Teslas specifically is the boundary-pushing Tesla Supercharger.
Tesla Superchargers are incredibly fast electric vehicle (EV) chargers designed to help you quickly charge away from home, including on road trips. Superchargers are a Level 3 charger (the fastest available on the market today), adding around 320 kilometers of range in just 15 minutes.
How does an EV charger work?
EV chargers are outstanding examples of contemporary technology that work by transferring electrical energy from the power grid to the battery of an electric vehicle.
The process happens according to the following steps:
- Connection: The charger is connected to the vehicle’s charging port, typically located on the exterior of the vehicle
- Power supply: The charger is connected to a power source, such as a standard household outlet, a dedicated circuit in a garage, or a public charging station
- Energy transfer: The charger converts the AC electrical energy from the power source into DC energy, which is then transferred to the vehicle’s battery pack
- Battery charging: The vehicle’s battery management system regulates the charge to the battery, controlling the rate of charge and ensuring the battery is not overcharged
- Disconnection: The charger is disconnected from the vehicle when the battery is fully charged or when the charging process is interrupted for any reason
The charging speed will generally depend on two things:
- The type of charger (see above), and
- The capacity of the vehicle’s battery.
In summary, Level 1 chargers, which use a standard household outlet, will provide a slower charge than Level 2 or Level 3 chargers, which are typically found at public charging stations and offer much faster charging speeds.
What type of EV charger is best for me?
When choosing an EV charger, there are several key factors we suggest considering, including:
- Charging speed: Consider the charging speed you need, taking into account your typical daily driving habits and the range of your electric vehicle
- Location: Consider where you will primarily be using the charger, such as at home or at public charging stations, and choose a charger that is suitable for that location
- Cost: Consider the cost of the charger and the associated installation and maintenance costs – some public charging stations may offer free charging, while others may require a fee
- Power source: Consider the power source for the charger, such as a standard household outlet or a dedicated circuit, and choose a charger that is compatible with your available power source – this is important!
- Compatibility: Consider the compatibility of the charger with your electric vehicle, including the type of charging port and the charging speed it supports
- Safety features: Consider the safety features of the charger, such as overcharge protection and weather resistance
- Brand and warranty: Consider the brand of the charger and the length and terms of the warranty, as this can affect the reliability and quality of the charger over time
- Future compatibility: Consider whether the charger you choose is compatible with future electric vehicles you may purchase, to ensure that you can continue to use the same charger with future vehicles
How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?
The cost of charging an electric vehicle (EV) in Victoria can, quite understandably, vary depending on a few factors, such as:
- The cost of electricity in your area
- The size of your vehicle’s battery, and
- The type of charger you use (see above)
As a rough estimate, it can cost between $8 to $20 to fully charge an EV in Australia. It’s good to note that this assumes a rate of approximately 30 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity, which is a common rate in Australian states and territories. The actual cost will depend on the specific circumstances of each individual case.
But what about charging at home vs. in a public location?
It’s worth noting that charging an EV at your home is generally much cheaper than using public charging stations, as the cost of electricity from a household outlet is typically lower than the cost of using a public charging station.
Consider too just how efficient you could be by charging your EV using a charger whose power originates from a renewable energy source – like solar!
According to RACV, a target has been set to grow the number of charging stations across Australia to over 5000 plugs by the end of 2025. There are already approximately 3000 public charging stations around Australia, with 450 in Victoria – a mix of standard and fast chargers, as well as Tesla Superchargers (RACV 2022).
Are there any grants or incentives for purchasing the best EV charger?
As more and more people opt for electric vehicles, global examples of grants/incentives available to support these choices continue to grow in number.
In the UK, the EV Chargepoint Grant provides funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle smart chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK.
Here in Australia, the Victorian government has invested $6.55 million in EV charger projects to help businesses transition and build out the state’s public charging network.
While a number of other opportunities exist, these are set to expand into 2023, and beyond.
Researching for the best EV chargers is a necessity for all EV owners, as well as for those considering making the switch.