You have bought yourself an EV fully electric car. Congratulations, and welcome to the future!
One of the first questions people ask themselves is “how do I charge it”?
The car yard you bought the car off probably sold you an 8A or granny charger. The problem with this type of charger is they are really slow to charge (max 1.8kw).
Can I plug my electric car into a regular outlet?
Car chargers do plug into a standard household power socket. However, this creates its own problems.
It is unlikely that the outlet has the necessary safety devices in the event of a fault occurring. The constant load the socket is drawing can cause the power point to burn out.
Imagine driving your old petrol car everywhere at 5500RPM. It wouldn’t take long for something in the engine to blow. You can use the same analogy on your power point. The constant load will cause heat and eventually the power point will burn out, or worse.
If you have a granny charger at home please follow the following guidelines issued by Worksafe New Zealand:
Quick safety tips for electric vehicle charging:
- Only use electric vehicle charging adaptors supplied by the vehicle manufacturer or by an electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) manufacturer.
- Do not use any household adaptor between your EV charger and a socket outlet. For example, a multi-box, double adaptor, extension cord or a travel plug.
- Never use damaged or modified charging equipment. For example, overseas equipment that has been fitted with a New Zealand plug.
- Make sure the charger you are supplied with is NZ compliant. It must also be supplied with an SDOC (Supplier Declaration of Conformity) stating it is safe to use in New Zealand.
- Don’t use any faulty charging equipment, get it checked by the manufacturer.
What do I need to charge an electric car at home?
Apart from the big fast chargers at supermarkets, there are alternatives for charging at home.
For a faster and safer charge get a wall charger with the earth leakage devices installed. It will be fed off a dedicated circuit (normally 32A supply) and fitted with RCD safety protection. This will need to be done by a registered electrician.
Why is an earth leakage device so important?
All new power points require RCD safety protection. These are designed for the 230v AC power to trip in the event of fault happening.
However, with EV chargers, we are not only dealing with AC power, which comes from power outlets. We are also dealing with DC power which comes from batteries like the one in your car. A normal RCD will not trip if there is a fault on the DC side. So DC leakage is required to protect both people and property from electric shock.
This is required by the Electrical Regulations AS/NZ3000.
When this is installed you can enjoy faster charging at 7kw. You can also enjoy peace of mind knowing the wiring and the charging device is safe.
Advantages of Quality Chargers
Depending on the wall charger, they also may have built in some or all of the following features:
- A built-in timer to take advantage of cheap electricity provided by your electricity retailer at different hours of the day.
- Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled allowing you to control the wall charger from your phone. It may even tell you how full your batteries are and how much power you are using.
- Power management built in.
There are many more features, dependent on the wall charger, to give the user greater flexibility.
When you have all this set up you will enjoy the knowledge you are paying the equivalent of 30 cents a litre.
If you need any help or want to discuss the choices available, give the team at Jenco Electrical a call on 0800 453 626
Jenco Electrical are registered master electricians in Auckland, who can help you with all residential and commercial electrical needs. Jenco Electricals provides prompt, reliable and highly organised electrical services that will get the job done right and on time in Auckland Central, West Auckland, South Auckland & North Shore.