In Australia and around the world, making the switch to an electric car is starting to become an easy choice. Gone are the days when EVs had endless limitations and were only available in a few models at an extremely high price tag. Now, there’s now a wide variety of vehicles, from supercars to off-road vehicles and everyday run arounds that are electrically powered. In the next few years, EV choices look set to become as extensive as their petrol powered counterparts.
However, one of the major factors that you have to consider when making the switch to electric is how you will power your vehicle.
Thankfully, public charging stations are readily accessible in most major centres and in many smaller towns around the country. This means that you have the option to “fill up” while on the go like you would in a petrol or diesel car. The issue is, charging an EV can take a rather long time—a lot longer than it takes to fill up a petrol tank.
The time factor is one of the major reasons so many EV owners are looking into the option of installing a home charging station. However, a home charging station is somewhat more complex than simply ensuring you have a power outlet in your garage and a long enough cable. Of course, you can charge your vehicle from an ordinary power outlet; it’s just not that efficient. A proper charging station will give you greater control, peace of mind and convenience.
The Cost Factor
It’s far cheaper to give your vehicle its main charge at home overnight. True, you have to pay for the initial installation of the charging station. You also have to pay for the electricity that it takes to charge your vehicle. This will form part of your usual electricity bill, as you are drawing power from the main supply.
Where you save money is in the fact that your electricity bill won’t go up by anywhere near as much as it costs to use a public charging station. Public charging stations charge per hour that you’re plugged in, and the rate can be quite steep depending on where you go. It can also take up to six or seven hours to get a full charge into your vehicle, depending on the type of charging port used and the size of the battery.
You can also look into green solutions for charging your vehicle like solar power or other methods of producing electricity that don’t require being part of the country’s grid. Australia also has the SRES solar rebate scheme that pays you out when you want to install solar panels and a storage system.
The Speed Factor
Getting a proper charging point, even a level 2 charger, will increase your charging time at home compared to simply using the mains and a regular plug point. When using a normal plug point in your home, it will take at least six hours to get a decent charge into a flat or almost flat EV battery.
How much quicker your charging station is will depend on the format of the station. A rapid charging station is ideal, but they can be quite expensive to install. You’ll also find charging options that give you a choice as to how fast they charge so you can set them up depending on your current needs.
What you will get with a home charging station is a quicker top-up if you just need to make a run to the shops or pick up the kids from school. This certainly is a win in an emergency.
The Convenience Factor
For many EV owners, the biggest incentive of a home charging station is the convenience factor. You don’t have to wait in line at the public stations or worry about where you are going to find another charge. Additionally, you don’t have to wait around in a public place while your EV charges.
Having a proper station at home means that you can easily plug your EV in whenever you choose, you can ensure that you always have enough charge for your next trip.
Many urban or suburban users find that they generally only need to plug their EVs in overnight and have all the power they need for the next day’s use. They only turn to public charging stations when going on long trips or have excessively busy days.
The Safety Factor
Finally, safety is another big bonus when it comes to home charging—especially for your insurance provider. A dedicated charging port installed by a registered electrician who knows what they are doing is a lot safer to use than plugging your vehicle into a normal power outlet in your home. The electrician will ensure that the outlet and the charging station are properly wired up and can handle the load required for charging an EV, making your home and your car a lot safer when plugged in.
You also don’t have to worry about leaving your vehicle in a public charging station for a few hours. These are often out in the open or in garages that offer you a bit more security. However, your vehicle will be at more risk of getting vandalised, stolen or damaged by the elements or other people.
The Home Improvement Factor
With the rise of use in electric vehicles growing substantially, having a home charging station could make your property more valuable. If you’ve also gone the extra route of including a green energy production solution, you could see a significant increase in the value of your property.
You’ll not only save money while you use this setup, but you’ll also get more money out when selling your home. At present, there are roughly 2500 public EV charging stations in Australia, but many of them are in major towns or cities, and there are far fewer on the outskirts or in rural areas. With so many pluses to recommend it, it’s easy to see why local EV owners should consider installing a home charging station rather than relying on those on the road.