What do I need to know about charging a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)?
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Welcome to a new series of stories under the DRIVEN Green banner. We’re hoping to educate, inform and hopefully even entertain around the topic of automotive sustainability.
We’re doing it in partnership with Audi New Zealand. That means you’re going to see Audi products featured and even some tips and insight from Audi experts. What it doesn’t mean is that you’re reading advertising content. The words you’ll be reading are 100 per cent DRIVEN editorial and while Audi product will underpin much of what we’ll discuss, we’ll be covering topics as they relate to the market as a whole – including other brands.
We thought we’d start with Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), which really epitomise green motoring to so many people. But let’s start at the start at the very start – what do you need to know about charging a BEV before you consider making the switch to one?
You can charge either at home or at public station. At home, you can indeed just plug into a standard three-pin power socket, although that’s pretty slow and wouldn’t be the recommended at home charging solution.
With 80 per cent of charging in NZ being done at home, it’s worth improving the standard connection. Upgrade to a 7.2kW set up, and this will get you approx. 250+ km of range from an eight hour charge for larger battery BEV’s.
When you’re doing more than your daily commute, you can use public charging stations.
Many shopping centres offer premium parking spots for EVs, with (usually free) charging up to 22kW.
But the standalone DC fast-charging stations are the really grunty ones. Most are 50kW, which means you could charge that e-tron 50 to 80 per cent from flat in under an hour. Or in a more likely scenario, a couple of hundred km of range in about half an hour.
There’s now a huge network of these fast-charge stations in NZ. Some, like those operated by ChargeNet, require you to have an account. But in this young age of BEVs, many power companies are also offering free DC fast charging facilities to help get buyers hooked on the new technology. Enjoy it while you can.
It’s easy to find the stations when you need them. ChargeNet has its own app, but there are also communities you can join like PlugShare that will point you towards the closest stations.
Charging will only get faster into the future. There are already “Hyper Chargers” appearing in NZ, which can operate at up to 300kW - if you have the car to handle it. Different BEVs have different maximum charging rates; the e-tron is one of the faster ones, at 120kW for the 50 and 150kW for the 55 model.
If you’re worried about plug confusion, don’t be. A BEV will come with the right connection for your home socket and most new models sold in NZ have either a CCS (the European preference) or CHAdeMO (Japanese) connection; most public fast-charging stations offer both and the CCS connector also accepts the so-called Type 2 plug used at many of those 22kW chargers.