Helping Australia’s EV Revolution Charge Ahead

EV Charging in Australia - advice and guides

SolarQuotes is filling a gap in knowledge in Australia on electric vehicle charging with new tools, guides and advice added to the SQ web site.

SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock acquired his first electric vehicle (a Tesla Model S) in 2019. Another EV soon followed – an Electric Mini Cooper S for his partner, Chantel.

It was during the Electric Mini purchase Finn realised some Australian EV buyers are likely not considering or being properly informed about crucial aspects of electric car ownership; particularly in relation to time- and cost-efficient EV charging. Finn was also being asked a lot of questions about his EV, his charging setup at home and the tie-in with solar power, such as:

  • What home EV charger should I buy?
  • How much does home electric vehicle charging cost?
  • What are the differences between Level 1, 2 and 3 charging?
  • How many extra solar panels should I install on my home to support an EV?
  • Can I charge an electric car from a home battery? Should I?
  • Can I power my home with an electric car’s battery?

While SolarQuotes isn’t about to become an EV website as such, Finn decided to create a dedicated EV section to answer these questions and many more. So, in addition to blog posts on electric vehicles, here’s what’s on offer now (for starters):

  • EV Charging 101: This comprehensive guide covers pretty much everything you’ll need to know about EV charging at home and away from it; and all explained clearly.
  • Compare EV chargers: A comparison table showing specifications and estimated pricing of home EV chargers currently available in Australia.
  • Australian Public EV Charger Locations: This searchable map indicates locations and details of public EV charging stations across Australia, and is continuously updated.
  • UPDATED: Homeowner’s Guide To Solar And EVs: Answers to the most common questions Finn gets about solar power, batteries, and how they tie in with electric vehicles.

.. and:

Home EV Charger Quotes

SolarQuotes currently has a network of 490 solar installers across Australia Finn has personally pre-vetted. A few months back he asked those installers whether they were also supplying and installing – or considering installing – EV chargers; and a bunch of them already were.

In addition to being able to receive quotes for solar power systems, home batteries, system maintenance and repairs from professionals Finn trusts, Australians can now also get up to 3 quotes for EV chargers through the SolarQuotes service. This can be as part of a solar system installation, or as a stand-alone acquisition (even if you don’t and won’t have solar panels installed).

These hand-picked installers know their stuff. If you decide to get a free, no-obligation EV charger quote through SQ, you can be confident you’ll receive solid advice on the best charging solution for your circumstances – and a great installation experience.

Finn has much more planned in the electric vehicle space, so stay tuned and sign up for the weekly SolarQuotes newsletter (use the button below) to keep informed.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Dominic Wild says

    Just had a look at a Nissan Leaf as it is one of the few offering V2H charging. The large Nissan dealership was empty as no stock is available and the single salesman opened the only Leaf in stock, but sold to the City of Canning for $68,000. With council rates rising at more than CPI, councils seem to have the money! For me, it would mean a $1,000 deposit and a six-month waiting period and a contact which allows the price to increase.

    When the salesman saw my jaw drop, he suggested buying an MG for $45,000!

    It comes with a quick-charge cable, but for a 10A or 15A home charging cable I would have to fork out another $500.

    The bi-directional chargers for V2H are still expensive and in the $10,000 range plus an installation cost. If you are working from home, you can add panels to charge the EV during sunshine, but consider the additional cost.

  2. Doug Foskey says

    Hi,
    this is great info, but I dispute the viability of the Public charge web info because this is already covered by Plugshare, which has the benefit of a real-time availability of chargers & if the charger is faulty. The problem I have found is that nowhere else is all the chargers listed. Most other sites either are very limited in coverage, or do not report charger failures. Of course, if you are going to a particular suppliers site, you can check on their chargers.

    wrt chargers, I did not see the ZJBeny charger. This charger is made by one of the suppliers to Tesla. It is also reasonably priced & has a 5 yr warranty.

    There are many options with chargers. Personally, I feel one needs a charger that has ´smarts´. There are 2 things to consider with the current draw from the grid: Total current available (normally about 60A on a single phase system), & the house draw at the time. With a single phase charger drawing 32A, on a high draw household this can be an issue. This is done by having power monitoring on the Solar PV input, & the Grid supply (the ZJBeny does this with a Dynamic Load box : DLB option) This means the EV current is reduced if the house consumption goes up.
    The next consideration is the poor electric retailer who has this huge potential load that might cost them heaps at the moment for peak loading.
    The way around this is the OCPP protocol. (another option for the chargers).
    This allows the Power retailer to offer a special EV charging rate with the proviso that the retailer can reduce or halt charging for a short period in exchange for lower rates. This is accomplished by the retailer having a database of all the OCPP compliant chargers they supply, then managing that demand. If we, as EV owners are concerned about the grid viability, we need to consider OCPP compliance.
    The next consideration is the EV feed current. Most vehicles chargers (internal) are not efficient at low charge currents. I have heard of cars with efficiencies of 40% at 6A charge rate. For this reason one is best to charge at a minimum of about 10A, where the efficiency is much higher.
    The next issue is for many owners or operators of EVs where the actual power consumption must be logged for financial reasons. If a vehicle is purchased on a novated lease, the power costs can be re-imbursed to the owner (much like petrol is repaid for ICE). Also, if the vehicle is used for business, the charge costs should be logged (particularly if you are charging your employers vehicle!). I guess this would be at the prevailing retail rate at the charge time (so Solar inputs are a good deal for the EV owner!). One consideration is this should be auditable. The verification could be a log book, or photo of the info off the EV display.
    One way of charging vehicles is a Solar PV carport, with attached Inverter with built-in EV charger. This could be an economical option for some owners. Remember to shade the inverter!

    • Geoff Miell says

      Doug Foskey,
      IMO, you highlight an important consideration for many legacy domestic circumstances: “Total current available (normally about 60A on a single phase system), & the house draw at the time. With a single phase charger drawing 32A, on a high draw household this can be an issue.

      Personally, I feel one needs a charger that has ´smarts´.

      Are there chargers that have ‘smarts’?
      Are they cost-effective for all circumstances, or limited to high demand/use scenarios?
      Would a simple 15 amp portable charger be more cost-effective and a better compromise for most people’s circumstances, providing 15-20km of range per hour?
      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/home-ev-charging-speed/#comment-1453482

      I’d suggest unless one needs to travel longer distances every day or often (where a faster, ‘smarter’ home charger may be justified), for most people, the few instances when one needs a faster charge rate, then one goes to a nearby fast charger. IMO, it seems currently, there’s no one system that suits all.

      • Indeed Geoff.

        Many people drive a relatively short distance each day & simply plugging the car in whenever they return home (even if just a standard 10A outlet) is likely to suffice. The charging rate will be very slow, but that hardly matters if the car is going to be on charge for 10 or more hours overnight, every night.

        • Doug Foskey says

          Answer fore Geoff:
          the ZJBeny I mentioned does have the option of the ´smarts´. How this is accomplished is by the mentioned DLB box. (Dynamic Load Box). For the technical, this is a small box that has 2 current transformers connected for the Solar PV model that clip over the AC o/p of the Solar Inverter, & the main grid supply line. This is linked by a simple (RJ45) cable up to many meters long (possibly 50?) that supplies power & RS485 comms to the DLB box from the BJBeny EV charger. This box measures the grid current & the solar generation then lowers the car charge current if the available current is restricted (by another big load).
          This particular charger uses a Phone app for the user to set the current, times, etc. But be careful because there are a few models of ZJBeny available & not all have ´smarts´. I suggest the OCPP option too because that will let you join a VPP so the charger can be temporarily turned off or reduced to reduce the grid load. (Aggregated, this equates to a Virtual Power plant, a valuable resource. The obvious use is the energy retailer tying this to a lower EV charge cost)
          Many other chargers also offer this capability. ZJBeny seems to be a reasonably priced alternative. (There are a number of ZJBeny importers in Australia: not all offer all the options, or the best price!)

          • I would be really interested to see the ZJBeny charger with ‘smarts’ added to the table. Especially with the 5 year warranty, this seems to be superior to the others.

      • I use a Zappi v2 to charge my car. It has enough smarts to take the solar and put it into my car first, but if the sun isn’t shining it can take it from the grid or battery.

  3. This is a great resource, very happy bro have curated EV information in one place. Nice one ☝️.

  4. Tony Tucker says

    Hey, I’ve been looking for something like this since my first EV back in 2015. Had asked Choice (Australian Consumers Association) to do something in this area, but they don’t seem to have the expertise. So hopefully they can (eventually) link to your EV site, as they already do with PV systems.

    Although it’s early days & will take a while for your site to grow into fully comprehensive EV resource. Look forward to seeing it evolve.

    BUT great contribution for all of us. Thank you!

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