Updated: Feb 24
If you are planning the switch, or have made the switch, to an EV, the chances are you are going to have to do a bit of adjusting to a new way of fueling your vehicle. The act of filling up your car with petrol once it's empty doesn't work with an EV. Instead it needs to be treated more like your phone, plugged in overnight to start the day on a full charge.
Therefore, the best and cheapest way to charge your EV is at home. Smart home EV chargers can allow you to track your power usage and make the most of cheaper off peak power prices. You can set timers too to ensure that your car is always ready to go when you leave for work in the morning.
When you are out and about, there are often free charging stations at some businesses for EV drivers to utilise. For example, some supermarkets now have free charging to give your vehicle a top up whilst you shop. These AC charging stations that are around town are usually all socketed so having your own cable in the car to use is key. All cables are type 2 at one end which corresponds to the charger's socket and then the other end (either type 1 or type 2) corresponds to your car's socket.
A core part of the public charging network is DC charging which allows for a faster turnaround than AC charging. DC charging stations have cables attached which will correspond to your vehicle. Type 2 equates to CCS for DC charging and type 1 is CHAdeMO. The attached cables are due to the large amount of power that is transferred with DC charging. The DC chargers bypass the cars on board inverter to deliver power straight to the battery. This is what allows DC charging to be much faster than AC charging, however it is harder on the battery so not recommended for everyday use. DC charging is optimal for road trips when a quick turnaround is needed for a re-charge.
Longer trips are something that needs to be planned ahead more with an EV. As the charging network is still growing you cannot always be sure that a charging station will be available when you need it like gas stations. Tools such as the NZTA Journeys website and Plugshare are a great way to see what public chargers are available along your route and which are free or pay-to-use. Planning charging stops ahead of time can help reduce range anxiety if you don’t want to just rely on the car's own data for planning charges. Factor charging in around food and bathroom breaks on your road trip and you will hardly notice the extra downtime of waiting for a charge compared to pumping gas.
There's a lot for Kiwi’s to learn with this new way of doing things but it's a system that is constantly improving and becoming more efficient. The EV charging network continues to grow as well as the ranges of EVs on the market so range anxiety will soon be a thing of the past. Until then charge at home as much as possible, plan ahead for long trips and make the most of your local free-to-use chargers when you're out and about.
Learn more with our free guide for home charging.