Solar charging your electric car at home, Solar charging your electric car at home

Solar charging your electric car at home or work is totally feasible. It can be done from a standard grid connection. Many already do so. Small electric cars require only a 15 amp power point. The cable plugs into the car’s onboard charger.

Virtually all electric vehicles have a charging unit inbuilt. Consult the vendor about charging options.

If used for commuting 40-50 km a day, re-charging requires 2.5-5 kilowatt/hours. One kilowatt hour is often called ‘one unit’. During off-peak periods it may cost less.

Here’s a guide to the kilometres you can drive when charging electric cars.

Type Maximum charge (kW) km/hour of charging
BMW i3 7.4 25
Chevy Spark EV 3.3 11
Fiat 500e 6.6 22
Ford Focus Electric 6.6 22
Kia Soul EV 6.6 22
Mercedes B-Class Electric 10 29
Mitsubishi i-MieEV 3.3 11
Nissan Leaf 3.3 – 6.6 11 – 22
Smart Electric Drive 3.3 11
Tesla Models S & X 10-20 29-58

Solar charging your electric car at home – how to do it

Solar charging your electric car at home or work is readily done overnight. You capture solar during the day and sell it to the electricity supplier. You draw it back to charge at night.  AGL (in NSW) offers 20 cents per kilowatt/hour (on a two-year contract). That’s only slightly less than buying it back off-peak.

Most Australian suppliers charge about 25 cents per kilowatt-hour (off-peak). Even using grid power costs only a dollar or two to commute. This is far less than for petrol-fuelled cars. Most use about 7 litres per 100 km. That typically costs (in May 2019) about $9/day.

You may also need an electric charging point. Another meter may be required for the car charging tariff. This can be set up by your electrical contractor.

EVs can be charged on economy electricity tariffs. Save money by switching to such a tariff for charging overnight. This needs installing a dedicated charging point. A standard electrical power point isn’t permitted.

Costs are further reduced if you charge from a solar PV system. This also reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emission.

Dealers may include a home charging assessment or an electrician’s advice in the car’s price.

Solar charging your electric car at home – set-up costs

The cost of charging from grid power varies with price tariffs and charging options. Compare tariffs for such charging. Sell solar captured during daylight. Charge your electric car all night at off-peak rates.

Charging your car via an economy tariff requires a dedicated charging point. This costs about A$1,750. A basic electric car charging unit costs about A$500. More advanced such units cost up toA$2500. A licensed electrical contractor will advise re this. If your charging rate exceeds fuse or circuit breaker rating, they must be upgraded. The cost is not high.

Charging at public outlets

An ever-increasing range of fast and super-fast chargers charge at up to 135 kW. They can fully recharge an electric vehicle battery in 30 minutes. Owners use these only during long drives. They rely on routine charging at home and at work. Electric car vendors also have charging services.

Fast charging facilities exist around Australia – including right across the Nullabor Plain. See: Charge Stations in Australia (https://myelectriccar.com.au/charge-stations-in-australia) or ChargePoint. Prices vary from state to state etc.

Electric Vehicle Battery Life

Battery technology is changing fast.  Currently, most vehicle batteries’ life depends on their routine depth of discharge. Batteries for urban driving and fully charged each night outlast those deeply discharged.

Currently, most car makers guarantee batteries for eight years. Nissan’s allows for 160,000 km and capacity loss for 5 years or 96,500 km. Australians typically drive 14,000 kilometres a year. This necessitates battery replacement every eight years. Outright failure is improbable. This extends battery life but less distance between charges.

Footnote

Many existing grid-connect solar systems have excess capacity. Solar fed in during the day can be re-drawn to charge an electric car at off-peak rates. Many already do this. They typically use a three-phase charger. Such charging permits charging overnight with occasional top-ups as required. It also extends battery life: all dislike ongoing deep discharging.

Summary

It is already totally feasible to charge cars from home and office solar. It is done by many owners right now. This website will shortly have specific details.

Please see also our associated website rvbooks.com.au. It has a major section covering all aspects of electric vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Series

This is a part of a series of articles about the history and technology involved in electric vehicles.  

Clicking on each item will take you automatically to the site and article.

1. Why the Move to Electric Vehicles
2. Electric Vehicle History
3. Electric Vehicle – Energy Use
4. Electric Vehicle Hybrids
5. Electric Vehicle – Thermodynamic Efficiency
6. Electric Vehicle Batteries
7. Electric Vehicle Charging
8. Electric Vehicle Charging via Solar
9. Electric Vehicle Motors

Books by Collyn Rivers

While you’re here, have a look at a few of the books on offer. Click on any book to find out more.

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