December 12, 2022

Looking for the best EV charger for your home? What to consider in 2024

Looking for the best EV charger for your home? What to consider in 2024
(Updated Dec 2023)

If you’re planning on buying an EV or plug-in hybrid anytime soon, it’s time to start making plans for how you’ll charge it. The growing availability of public charging stations along New Zealand’s roads is reassuring for long trips, but most day-to-day electric vehicle charging takes place in NZ homes.

Not only is your home the most convenient place to plug-in and recharge your electric vehicle, but with the right EV charging setup it’s also where you can maximise incentives like cheaper electricity rates and emission-free energy sources like solar power.

There are a lot of charging solutions out there, so to help you find the best EV charger for your situation, we’ll focus on answering key questions that EV owners we speak to find helpful.  

Evnex E2 smart charger (Volcanic) with Subaru Solterra EV.
Evnex E2 smart charger (Volcanic) with Subaru Solterra EV.

1) EV charging speeds: How fast should your EV charger be?

When you think of fast charging, you’ll likely picture roadside charging networks like ChargeNet. While DC charge points are convenient to rapidly refill your car when on a road trip, they are much more costly than AC chargers to purchase and have installed by an electrician in your home. Such high charging speeds are unnecessary overnight if your EV is sitting idle for hours. *A 25kW DC charger will recover around 150km of range per hour of charging up to 80% battery capacity.

Commercial - 25kW
ChargeNet 25kW DC charger

At the other end of the spectrum are portable AC car chargers also known as ‘trickle chargers’ or ‘granny chargers’ that plug into a standard wall outlet. Most new EVs will have one of these charging cables included like having a spare tire.

While an ideal charging option for emergencies or short-term use, their slow charging speeds are not ideal for vehicles with long-range batteries. Charging a vehicle like a Tesla Model Y to full this way could take several days. It’s a key reason EV drivers look to upgrade to a faster AC charging option to recover more range for their vehicle overnight.  *A 1.8kW AC trickle charger will recover around 10km of range in one hour of charging.

A portable EV charger that plugs into a standard 3 pin plug.

Therefore, for the best EV charging speed at home, we encourage new EV owners to consider a wall-mounted AC charger that sits in the middle of this range of charging rates.  

The power rating of these units can vary, but we recommend 7.4kW as the sweet spot capable of adding up to 40km of range per hour of charging (around 4x faster than the previously mentioned portable AC charger). In terms of range, that’s the equivalent of recovering a standard daily New Zealand commute (24-35km) within as little as one hour of charging. For EV drivers with electricity plans that offer recurring ‘free power hour(s)’, you could recover all that range every night without paying a cent.

There’s also added peace of mind for occasions when you return home with a very low battery. A 7.4kW EV charger can still refill all but the very largest EV battery packs overnight in one charging session.

Evnex E2 smart EV chager wall mounted to a home exterior
Evnex E2 7.4kW (volcanic)

When choosing a wall-mounted AC charger, check your vehicle’s onboard AC charging rate limitations. If this is lower than what a wall-mounted charger can provide, then you won’t be able to utilise the full charging speed it offers.

You can read more about various AC and DC charging speeds in our EV charging times guide.

2) EV charger reliability: How important is price vs quality of your home EV charger?

It’s frustrating to arrive at an EV charging station to discover it’s out of order, and even more so if your home charging equipment isn’t working properly when you wake up in the morning. Before buying the most affordable home charger on Amazon, it’s worth researching what local support is available for that EV charging unit.

With New Zealand being a small market on the global stage, many overseas manufacturers of EV chargers do not have a local support team. They instead rely on distributors or retailers to handle troubleshooting, service, or warranty claims. This can have mixed results when it comes to product knowledge, charging equipment parts access, and service quality. A home charger is an important daily-use piece of charging equipment that keeps your EV on the road. If you ever encounter problems, you’ll want to get answers ASAP.

Smart EV chargers that are connected to the internet are a great option when it comes to serviceability. Some units allow support technicians to remotely view charging logs, update your charger’s configuration, and apply software updates without requiring a costly, in-person service visit. Having multiple wireless communication options like cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity can also help you maintain a stronger connection to these cloud-based services if you’re in a remote area.

Ultimately the build and support quality for an EV charger will likely be reflected in its price, so the best EV charger for you is not necessary the cheapest option.

Evnex E2 EV charging plugged into Cupra Borne EV

3) EV charger safety features: How do you protect yourself and your home?

There are a lot of home charging options on the NZ market, but unfortunately not all of them stack up in terms of safety features. The best EV chargers are built with safety in mind both for EV owners and their homes. Here are a few key features to check for.

Is the EV charger you’re considering compliant with NZ electrical requirements? If it’s not clear, contact the manufacturer and ask them to show you proof of an SDOC, which shows which NZ testing standards have been met for that charger model.

Is your EV charger going to be for outdoor use? Look for an IP rating of 55 or higher. This also includes checking your outdoor household sockets have sufficient weatherproofing if you plan to plug in a portable EV charging cable. In general, wall-mounted EV chargers that are NZ compliant are hardwired to your switchboard and offer additional safety features above that of a portable wall plug charger. They are also less reliant on your home’s wiring integrity, electrical outlets, and good user practices for safe operation.

However, these faster, wall-mounted EV chargers can introduce problems of their own. They are power-hungry charging equipment and can draw up to half of a typical home’s 63-amp power supply. Combined with the use of other high-load appliances, there is a risk of overloading your home’s circuit or blowing a street pole fuse if you’re not careful.

To prevent this, some wall-mounted EV chargers offer a smart feature called Home Overload Protection, which monitors your home’s energy consumption via a power sensor. As your home’s total energy demand nears its capacity, the EV charger will slow down your charging speed. As the load on the home is reduced, it will speed up. This provides great peace of mind to know you’re still achieving fast charging speeds, without manually turning on and off other appliances throughout your charging session.  

You can review our charging safety guide for more information on safe EV charging habits and considerations.

4) Solar charging features: Have you considered charging your electric car from the sun?

A great way to reduce your EV charging costs and lower your carbon footprint is by charging from renewable energy like solar. While not every EV owner has a solar PV system at home, if there’s a chance you may install one in the future, it helps to already have a smart EV charger with solar charging features.

This is especially helpful if you want to reduce your reliance on grid energy to charge your vehicle. One way to achieve a 100% renewable charge is by using a solar EV charger that detects and diverts your solar power to charge your car; with the option to start a charging session only when there’s excess solar available.

While you can charge your EV from excess solar power using other, non-smart charging equipment, these units will also draw power from the grid as your solar output fluctuates. It becomes a mixed bag with no visibility or control over your electricity source, except for manually stopping and starting your charge as the sun comes and goes.

Learn more about the possibilities of solar charging features here.

Evnex smart charging app showing an EV driver's Session History page
Evnex smart charging app showing an EV driver's Session History page

5) Other smart EV charging features: What’s worth considering?

While more about convenience, it’s worth reviewing other smart features available for EV chargers.

If you’re a driver switching to an electric car to save on fuel costs, it’s helpful to know exactly how much you’re saving. You can look for EV chargers with a connected smartphone app that accurately tracks charging costs or can connect with your electricity provider to show charging costs on your home electricity bill separately.

For environmentally conscious drivers, there’s also carbon monitoring tools that break down the carbon intensity of your local grid with live and historical emission graphs. You can use this information to learn about the cleanest times to charge your EV in your region and track your estimated carbon emissions for each charging session.

Cupra Borne EV being charged

So which EV charger is best for you?

Ultimately the best EV charger for you is the one that supports your charging goals at home. Consider future-proof features, reliability, and appropriate charging speeds that can all help you reduce your electricity costs and charge from renewable energy sources.  

We wish you the best of luck on your EV charging journey and are here to help if you have any questions.

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December 12, 2022