If you’re planning to buy an EV anytime soon, you’ll need a plan for how to charge it. It’s reassuring to see the growing availability of public charging stations along New Zealand’s roads, but over 80% of day-to-day electric vehicle charging takes place at home. Not only is this the most convenient place to plug-in, while your vehicle is sitting idle for hours, but your home is also where you can charge from the cheapest and least carbon-intensive energy.
To help answer the question ‘what is the best EV charger for me?' We’ll focus on key considerations we find most helpful for EV owners who speak with us about EV charging solutions for their home.
1) Fast EV chargers – faster charging speeds at home can save you money
Among the many benefits of home charging is your opportunity to charge from free or reduced rates of electricity. How much you’ll save on charging costs compared to petrol will depend on both your tariff and how fast your EV can charge. The faster your charging rate, the more range you can recover during windows of free off-peak power. You can learn more about these in our EV charging costs guide.
Most new EVs only come with a trickle charger that plugs into a standard wall outlet. While ideal for emergencies or short-term use, its slow rate of charge is a key reason EV drivers decide to upgrade to an AC fast charger for their everyday use at home.
For instance, an installed 7.4kW home EV charger is up to 4x faster than a common portable plug charger and can recover the equivalent range of a standard NZ commute (24-35km) within as little as 1 hour of charging. This is ideal for drivers with electricity plans that offer daily ‘free power hours’.
There’s also the added peace of mind that on those occasions when you get back from a long trip with a very low state of charge, a 7kW charger will refill all but the very largest EV battery pack overnight. You can read more about various charging rates in our EV charging times guide.
2) Reliable EV chargers – locally supported EV chargers are more reliable
It can be frustrating to arrive at a charging station to discover it’s out of order. Even more so for your home charging method. It’s worth considering what local support is available for your home charger if needed.
With New Zealand being a small market on the global stage, some companies manufacturing EV chargers will not have an on-the-ground support team and 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-connected EV chargers can be helpful when it comes to serviceability too, as support technicians can remotely view logs, send commands, update the charger’s configuration and apply software updates without requiring an in-person service visit. Having multiple wireless communication options like cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity can help you maintain a stronger connection to these cloud-based services if you’re in a remote area.
Ultimately the build and quality of support may be reflected in an EV charger’s price.
3) Safe EV chargers – protect yourself and your home
Wall-mounted chargers that are NZ compliant offer a range of operational safety features and are less reliant on the integrity of a building’s wiring, electrical outlets, and good user practices for safe operation; than that of a portable wall plug charger.
However, modern wall-mounted EV chargers are power-hungry equipment and can draw up to half of a typical home’s 63 amp power supply. Combined with the draw of other high-load appliances, there is a risk of overloading your home’s circuit or blowing a street pole fuse at certain times of the day if you’re not careful.
To charge efficiently while keeping your home safe, some wall-mounted EV chargers monitor your home’s energy consumption through a power sensor, allowing it to fluctuate your charging speed depending on your home’s overall energy demands. So, when you arrive home on a winter evening and turn on the heat pump and induction hob, your charger will temporarily reduce its charging rate to keep below your limit. We call this feature Home Overload Protection, but other EV charger manufacturers may have their own terminology for similar features.
You can review our charging safety guide for more information on safe EV charging habits and considerations.
4) Solar EV chargers – charge your electric car for free with solar
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, you may consider installing one in the future, and it helps to use an EV charger that’s solar-ready.
The trick to having a 100% renewable charge is by using a solar EV charger that detects and can divert your solar power to your car; starting a charging session only when there’s excess solar available.
While you can charge your EV from excess solar power using other charging equipment, these units will also draw power from the grid with no visibility or control as your solar output fluctuates.
5) Other smart EV Chargers – the possibilities of smart charging features.
While more about convenience, it’s worth reviewing other smart features available from EV charger manufacturers.
For drivers 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 smart chargers with an optional smartphone app that accurately tracks charging costs or can connect with your electricity provider to have charging costs appear on your home electricity bill.
Ultimately the best EV charger is the one that meets your charging needs at home. Consider future-proof features, reliability, and charging speed, that can 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.