EV essentials: the must have accessories for your plug-in car
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Over the century of driving internal combustion engines, we’ve learned a few essential backs-ups to help save forgetful or unforeseen moments: jumper cables are an easy addition to the boot for a flat battery, and a jerry can with some fuel is like a get-out-trouble card that we’re all familiar with.
But in the relative five minutes that we’ve been driving EVs, we’re still learning about getting into – and out of – trouble. So with the help of EV specialist company ChargeMaster, we’ve put together a few simple and relatively cost-effective additions for EVs – specifically BEVs, as PHEVs still use an ICE to get them out of trouble – to allow for a slightly more reassured drive.
Many new cars have them as standard, but used and import EVs may have lost their chargers, or have different wall plugs to what we require in NZ.
ChargeMaster is finding its most popular charger is the Type 1 unit, which offers the safety of a Type B RCD (Residual Current Device) – DC leakage protection. Which is something to monitor when buying EV products.
Indicative price: $399.
Like jumper cables for a flat 12v battery, a cable could be the difference between being stranded or charged, if a specific public charging station’s unit is not working, or being used. While there are often Type 1 and Type 2 chargers, there are also unit with no cables, and simply sockets, allowing a bring-your-own cable to plug in.
Most EVs accept charge at different rates, so either single-phase or three-phase cables offer faster charge times; Tesla (all models) and the Porsche Taycan/Audi GT are capable of fast charging therefore three-phase cables are recommended.
Indicative price: $335.
When it comes to EVs, there are different plugs, which means at times, depending on the car, there can be mismatches. But there’s an adaptor for most situations, a popular one being the Type 1 charger cable to Type 2 car socket.
Early adopters have been buying these for situations where commercial customers have upgraded their existing fleet to the newer Type 2, or when private customers have two vehicles (each with a different socket) and want a simplified charging solution without having to spend extra money on other cable types.
Alternatively, a Type 2 to Type 1 adapter allows, for example, a Nissan Leaf (with an older Type 1 socket) to charge with an increasingly common Type 2 socket, which most of the public charging stations in NZ have. The adapter is rated 32A allowing it to charge around 25-30km per hour.
Indicative price: $199.
In emergency situations, there’s always the AA, for roadside service, advice, support, some emergency fuel or a battery jump start.
The AA has also introduced an EV van. Currently only servicing the Wellington region, the van provides roadside recharging and EV support in a similar way as ICE vehicles, with AA recently announcing plans to expand the van and service to other regions. The EV van comes free as part of an AA membership, and also doubles as normal roadside support when not specifically servicing EV requests.
Price: $89 (Auckland), $79 (rest of NZ).