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Everything you need to know about charging electric cars

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Owning an electric car or electric vehicle (EV) isn’t that different from a typical petrol-powered vehicle. The main point of difference is how you ‘top it up’ and where. Most EV buyers worry about the range of their cars and how often they need to charge for longer trips. 

The good news is charging electric cars is relatively simple and has recently become more convenient as more charging stations pop up. Australians now have more options when charging electric cars compared to previous years. 

In this article, we clear up some misconceptions about EV charging and try to alleviate some of that range anxiety.  

How to charge an electric car

The specific process of charging electric cars may vary depending on the kind of charging station and the type of EV. If you want to use a public electric charging station, follow these steps: 

  • Step 1: Attach the charging cable (if it’s not already connected) to the charging station. 
  • Step 2: Connect the charging cable to your EV. You may hear a click or a locking sound to let you know it’s been properly attached. 
  • Step 3: For paid charging stations, go through the payment process (cards, app, etc.) and wait for your EV to charge. If the charging station is free, the charging will be automatic. Check your dashboard to see the status in both instances. 
  • Step 4: Check the indicator lights or your electric car’s app to see the status of the charge.  
  • Step 5: When your electric car is fully charged, unplug the connector cable from your EV and you’re good to go! 

Different EV charger levels

Not all EV chargers are made the same. The charging speeds of EV chargers and charging stations may differ based on various factors. There are three EV charger levels: slow, medium, and fast.  

Level 1: Slow charging

This type of EV charger delivers a charge of about 2kW per hour. These types of chargers usually plug into a 10A power point and come standard with most EVs. This slow charger is best for charging small batteries or for electric cars that aren’t used frequently.  

Level 2: Medium charging

A medium charging unit can provide 7.2kW of power from a 240V AC single-phase connection. It provides a much faster charge than level 1. Charging units for medium charging are installed on the wall by licenced electricians. If you want an at-home charging unit, a level 2 is an ideal choice so you can charge your EV overnight. 

Level 3: Fast charging

Level 3 EV charging is high-voltage direct current or DC chargers. You can find this type of charging unit in public charging stations. A level 3 charging unit can deliver 50kW or up to 350kW of power depending on the specific type of charger. 

Level 4: Super-fast or rapid charging

This type of EV charger produces 120kW of power and has a range added per hour of 400km to 500km. Charging time for a level 4 charger ranges from 20 to 40 minutes. EV chargers like this are found near highways, motorways, or other key routes. 

Level 5: Ultra-fast charging

This is the fastest type of EV charger there is. It can deliver an estimated 350kW and can charge an EV in 10 to 15 minutes. Because it requires so much power, you’ll find this in public charging stations like highways and motorways. 

Types of EV chargers

Usually, car manufacturers in Australia provide EV buyers with a minimum charging option with a standard 10-Amp plug. This is what you’d typically find at home making it easy for owners to charge their EVs. Other standard plugs used in Australia are the following: 

  • Type 2 or Mennekes plug – Used for AC charging. 
  • CHadeMO – Used for DC charging. 
  • CCS – Used for AC and DC charging. 

How to charge an electric car at home

Charging electric cars at home varies based on the type of charging unit you have. If you have a level 1 charger, simply use the charging cable that comes with your EV and plug it into a regular power point. 

If you have a level 2 charger installed in your home, you can get a much faster charge. This is great for those who use their EVs frequently and for long distances. This option may be more costly as it requires more equipment and professional installation. However, it may also be more convenient depending on your needs. 

Level 3 chargers or higher aren’t practical for at-home use as they require way more power than you’ll probably need. These chargers are best for public charging stations found in motorways or street-side charging. 

Public EV networks

In Australia, the number of public chargers is increasing yearly. There are an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 public charging stations in the country and the numbers are steadily growing as EVs become more and more popular. Here are some of the top public EV networks in Australia: 

  • Chargefox  

This public charging network has over 270 locations across Australia (except some parts of the Northern Territory). It offers charging speeds of 4kW AC to 350kW DC to help you get fast charging wherever you are. Charging costs here range from $0.40/kWh to $0.60/kWh. 

  • Evie Networks

There are over a hundred charging stations in this public charging network. You can enjoy charging speeds of 22kW AC to 350kW DC across all states and territories. The cost of charging your electric car here can range from $0.45/kWh on 50kW and 75kW DC fast chargers to $0.60/kWh on ultra-rapid chargers. 

  • Tesla Superchargers 

There are around 60 Tesla Superchargers around Australia save for the Northern Territory. This network is exclusive for Tesla electric cars only although some locations have been opening their chargers for non-Tesla EVs for higher fees. Charging costs here vary on the time, location, and demand but can range from $0.50 to $0.69/kWh. 

Are you interested in buying an electric car? 

See what type of EV is right for your price range by getting pre-approved for an electric car loan. If you need help buying your dream car, get in touch with us today!

About the article

As Australia's leading online lender, loans.com.au has been helping people into their dream homes and cars for more than 10 years. Our content is written and reviewed by experienced financial experts. The information we provide is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives or needs. If you'd like to chat to one of our lending specialists about a home or car loan, contact us on Live Chat or by calling 13 10 90.

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