• Climate hub
  • 6 Oct 2021
  • 4 min read

Charge your electric vehicle at home

By Shane Gilchrist

How will you charge your EV at home?

Before you buy an electric vehicle, think about how you’ll charge it at home – and find out how much it typically costs to install a wall-mounted charging system.

As we continue to shift gears in to reduce our carbon outputs, and as more and more electric vehicles come onstream, there are costs to consider beyond the price tag on the window of the vehicle in the car yard.

Key questions to consider when buying an electric vehicle are how will you charge it, how much will it cost to install an EV charger at home, and what about those batteries, can you overcharge them?

Simple plug-in – or is more juice required?

Yes, you can use a standard three-pin plug, which provides around 1.2kWh of charge. That’s okay for a hybrid or an EV with a comparatively small battery (and, therefore, lowish range), and will take your car from flat to fully charged on an overnight setting.

But for more juice, you might want a wall-box style charger, and these are becoming increasingly popular, says Gary Fuller, of Solcel Electrical Ltd in Dunedin, who is getting more and more enquiries about installing dedicated charging systems into both new and existing homes.

Fuller drives a seven-year-old Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV, powered by a 16 kWh lithium-ion drive battery, with a range of around 80kms. Using a low-powered charger, it takes Gary about eight hours to fully charge his van.

Were he to upgrade, Fuller says he would most likely steer towards a higher-spec smart charging unit. For example, the popular “Wallbox” Mode 3 single-phase charging station, rated at 7.4kW, which retails for around $2,000. It’s then around $2,000 for a straightforward install, although the price may increase if extra work and components are required to ensure your home’s circuitry can handle the output safely.

A safe earthing arrangement is a significant part of the installed system. Before a charging station is allowed to be connected to an electricity supply the installer needs to issue a certificate of compliance and an electrical safety certificate.

So, the approximate total of around $4,000 may hit the pocket but consider this. The average Kiwi household spent $48.50 on fuel each week in 2019, or $2522 per year, so it will take just a couple of years to recover the cost. But if you do a lot of driving, your sums could look quite different and a wall charger could pay for itself a lot quicker.

Standards New Zealand this year released this document covering EV chargers for residential use put together in consultation with transport, electrical, engineer and motor industry associations. It covers many of the angles you’ll need to know.

Charger typeUseTime to charge  Power  
3-pin cable 230V single phase At home, can also take in the car as a back-up while out driving  AC charge 12-14 hours AC: 1.75kW
Wall chargerFast charging at homeFast AC charge approx. 4 hoursAC: 7-22kW

Built-in charging as the new normal

Electrician, Gary Fuller, says more and more new builds should feature integrated smart EV charging circuits. He points to recent electrical safety recommendations which recommend fully enclosed garage having a dedicated circuit for EV charging.

"It makes sense, because it’s easier and potentially cheaper to do in a new build than opening up wall cavities and changing mains and electrical boards, as is required for older homes. That said, people should consider a similar approach if they are looking to rewire or renovate an older house. Consider it an investment.”

Your home as an energy ecosystem

Smart charging offers a means of load management, both in terms of protecting your domestic circuits, but also helping safeguard our national electrical supply, by regulating best times (eg, off-peak) and how much load to take.

Find out about Genesis’s EV off peak EV Plan.

The electrical grid of the future is likely to feature demand flexibility, where your home functions as an energy ecosystem. This might include electricity users being paid to not use energy, a process known as demand response. For example, if you are planning to go on holiday, you might programme an app to notify your supplier, enabling them to better manage demand.

Switching from a vehicle that uses fossil fuels to one that uses electricity obviously requires consumers to think differently about refuelling. And given the majority of EV charging is expected to be done by private owners, it pays to think smarter about how you plug in at home.

Have more questions about EV's? Read our EV FAQs

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