It’s best to fully charge your electric vehicle (EV) before you leave home, especially if the trip you are taking is close to the EV’s range. For longer trips, you will need to plan where you will be able to recharge.
Today’s electric EVs usually come with two charging options – convenient charging at home or work and charging at public charging outlets.
Charging at home or work
Charging at home or work is possible via a standard electrical power point (240 volt AC / 15 amp electricity supply). The rate of charge will depend on the EV’s on-board charger – 2.5 kilowatts (kW) to 7 kW is usual. So at 2.5 kW, a Nissan Leaf will be fully charged overnight1.
Dedicated EV charging units are another option for home. Check with the car manufacturer for the specific charging options available.
EVs can be charged on economy electricity tariffs like T31 and T33, so you can save money if you switch to an economy tariff for off peak charging overnight. To be on the economy tariffs, you must have a hard-wired dedicated EV charging point, a standard electrical power point isn't permitted.
If you charge from your solar PV system, recharge costs can be further reduced with the added benefit of no CO2 emissions from this renewable energy source.
Charging at public charging outlets
Publicly accessible ‘fast charger’ or ‘super charger’ outlets provide power to the battery at a faster rate. The rate of charge is usually from 25 kW to 135 kW and can recharge an EV battery in around 30 minutes1.
Check with the car manufacturer for the EV's charging options before you buy.
Expect to see more public charging outlets around Australia, typically located in towns so you can enjoy a break. Check out the Charge Stations in Australia or ChargePoint webpages to find one near you.
How much does a recharge cost?
The cost depends on where you live and the capacity of the EV’s batteries.
For example, the average price for electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh) in Australia is about $0.25 and it takes around 18 kWh to travel 100km in an average EV. So, it will cost approximately $4.50 in electricity charges to travel 100km2.
There may be costs for the second meter needed for the economy tariff, if you don’t have one already (read Possible set-up costs below).
In comparison, the average petrol car in Australia uses 11.1 litres of fuel to travel 100km (Australian Bureau of Statistics). That’s a cost of $16.65 to travel 100km at $1.50 per litre2. Even a very efficient diesel vehicle (5 litres per 100km) will cost $7.502.
Work with a licensed electrical contractor (try Master Electricians) to evaluate your home's wiring, electrical outlets and other hardware needed to support the charging of an EV. It's important to know your needs and possible costs before buying an EV.
Your car dealership may offer a home assessment as part of the EV purchase price and some car makers offer a consultation with a licensed electrical contractor as part of the EV purchase.
Another set-up option is using a service like ChargePoint.
Possible set up costs
The cost to set up your home charging outlet depends on things like your current home electrical design, the electricity tariff and charging options you choose.
According to the Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial Mid-Term Report3, setting up a home charging outlet costs around $1,750 for the charging circuit wiring, and the charging outlet cost can vary from:
Less than $100 for a standard electrical power point
Up to $500 for a basic dedicated EV charging unit
Up to $2,500 for a more advanced dedicated EV charging unit.
The cost of the charging circuit wiring also varies greatly according to the needs of the household. A licensed electrical contractor (try Master Electricians) can offer advice on this.
Other set-up costs may include:
Second electrical meter installation - If you wish to switch to a different electricity tariff to charge your EV, like economy tariffs T31 or T33, you may need to pay for the installation of a second electrical meter. Refer to our Metering charges webpage for more information (see the section on Upfront metering charges).
Dedicated EV charging point - To charge your EV on an economy tariff, you must install a hard-wired dedicated EV charging point, a standard electrical power point isn't permitted.
Electrical panel upgrade - If you choose a faster charging option above the standard fuse rating, it will add load to your electrical panel so it may need to be upgraded. The upgrade cost can be quoted by a licensed electrical contractor.
Electrical service upgrade - Your premises may require utility electrical service upgrades to charge an EV and/or have a second meter installed. This cost can be quoted by your electricity distributor after an on-site assessment by a licensed electrical contractor.
Battery life expectancy
Batteries wear out and a replacement battery will eventually be needed. Most car manufacturers guarantee their batteries for around 8 years. Nissan guarantee their batteries against defects for 8 years or 160,000km and capacity loss for 5 years or 96,500km (whichever occurs earlier)4.
Australians drive an average of 15,000km per year, so an EV owner will expect to replace the batteries about every 7 years 4.
To help with replacement costs, vehicle manufactures are coming up with affordable battery replacement plans. Check with your car dealership for details.