Charging Electric Vehicles: the big questions and answers
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Questions, questions, questions, many get asked but few internet answers are either researched or even accurate.
So with the help of Auckland EV charger and accessories specialist, ChargeMaster, and New Zealand’s largest EV charging network ChargeNet, we’ve put together a handful of the most commonly asked questions relating to EVs, particularly since the introduction of the Clean Car Programme.
What’s the difference between a hybrid and a PHEV and an EV?
A little confusing, as all “electrified” cars are often referred to as “EVs”, but according to government and manufacturer terminology, there are three common terms: hybrid, PHEV and BEV. A hybrid uses a battery and a motor to assist the engine (like a Toyota RAV4). A PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) uses a short-range battery and electric motor that is plugged in, typically overnight, to recharge for around 50km of pure electric motoring (like a Mitsubishi Outlander). Once it runs out, it becomes a regular petrol-electric hybrid. And a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) uses only a battery, though a larger one for longer range from 200km-600km+ (like a Tesla). Additionally, a FCEV (Fuel cell electric vehicle) uses hydrogen instead of a battery (like a Hyundai Nexo), and range extender EVs, that use petrol engines only to recharge the battery.
I’m upgrading to a (used) 2019 Ford Ranger next year, how much will the ute tax be?
It won’t. The Clean Car Fee only applies to high emission vehicles bought new or new registration imported. Same with the discount and neutral band. To see more, scan to DRIVEN’s Clean Car Calculator QR code above.
Are public EV chargers free?
There are some in Auckland and Waikato that are free for now, but the majority in NZ are paid. Most of the ChargeNet network costs 25c per kWh and 25c per minute to park. ChargeNet data shows the average session is $8.
How much does it cost to charge an EV overnight?
Check your home energy bill for a $ per kW rating and multiply that by the battery’s specs and state: e.g. an 80kWh battery at 50 per cent will consume 40kW at 18c per kWh equals $7.20.
What is phase one (1P) and phase three (3P) power?
Think of your home’s 1P electrical system as a 60 litre jug of water. Your heat pump takes up 20, your oven takes up 10, your lights take up 10 and appliances/power another 10. Which leaves just 10 for a pool, EV charger, garage door for example. A commercial 3P system gets the power source and splits it into three separate jugs, for more even distribution. The 3P circuit carries two additional wires, so EV charging can be three times faster.
Can EV chargers be used outside in the wet?
Of course. Outdoor chargers must meet specified power and weatherproof ratings. It could be pouring with rain at an outdoor charger and there is still miniscule to zero risk of electrical danger.
If I fit my EV charger outside, can anyone just plug in and use it?
Not unless you allow it. ChargeMaster explains that most smartchargers, like the Wallbox brand, use apps or touchscreens to enable or inhibit charging, via either an included keyfob or PIN or security, allowing it to be placed in a common carpark or commercial area that only those approved can use.
Can I schedule my EV home charging for off-peak rates?
Absolutely, this is one of the key features of home EV chargers. Charging can be scheduled via the charger, a smartphone app or the vehicle, so there are plenty of ways to take advantage of off-peak rates, and to ensure the charging is peaking by departure time, so the cabin could be pre-heated/cooled, too.
What’s Type 1 and Type 2?
For AC charging, Type 1 is generally the standard for Asian and American plugs, while Type 2 is European. But there is mixing and matching of course, with NZ-new vehicles now favouring Type 2. There are also plug differences between AC (home power) and DC (public, high power systems), but we’re starting to see conformity. Even if you fit a Type 2 plug for home and a friend with a Nissan Leaf visits, adaptors, like those sold by ChargeMaster, allow easy/universal fitting and use.
What is charger etiquette: how long can I park at an EV charger for, and can I remove someone else’s plug?
Parking limits do often apply, especially at free chargers (30-60min is common). Use public stations with respect to others: take what you need, and try not to keep others waiting if possible. Removing another car’s plug is possible, but fraught with moral and ethical complexities: if it’s finished charging, then sure. And if it’s charging with a Type 1 plug, plug in your Type 2 to either charge, or be on stand-by when the Type 1 is finished.
The worst type of EV owner is one who plugs in, walks away and then doesn’t return until well after the time limit. Remember, the clock is literally running on the screen for all to see. If in doubt, leave a phone number on the dash or check into PlugShare.