Electric Vehicle Charging

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity and charging at home can be the easiest option. Charging an EV is as easy as charging a phone – you just plug it in. No more visiting the petrol station.

You can charge inside or outside, in any weather, so long as all equipment is designed for use in New Zealand and for the conditions in which it will be used.

Charging at home

Charging an EV at home overnight is the equivalent of buying petrol at 30c per litre*.  Or around $4 dollars per 100km.

Some power companies offer special rates for EV owners and you may be able to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.

* Estimate based on a residential off-peak charge rate and will vary.

Portable 3-pin charging cable

This plugs into a standard household power point and is typically supplied with your EV when you buy it.

It can be called an in-cable control and protection device (IC-CPD).  You will normally get around 10km per hour of charging.

If using a portable charger as your main form of charging, you should not rely on old power outlets and old house wiring. There is nothing else in your home that will use as much power for so long, so if you are unsure on the condition and age of your house wiring then it is a good idea to get an electrician to check.

Wall-mounted charging unit

A dedicated wall-mounted AC charging unit is great to have at home or work. They provide more safety than a regular charging cable and can charge faster, yet they’re easier on the battery than fast (DC) charging.

Some devices have timers to make off-peak charging easy. They may display information and allow you to control charging with a smartphone.

If you decide to install a wall-mounted unit at home, or are having one installed in the workplace, it must be done by a registered electrician.

A registered electrician should:

  • install a separate sub-circuit.
  • make sure the cable to the socket is capable of supplying the power that the unit can deliver. A circuit capable of supplying 32 Amps will futureproof the installation.
  • install a Type B RCD.
  • be able to confirm the charging equipment has a Supplier Declaration of Conformity to show the unit has been tested and meets electrical safety law.

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To charge an EV Safely

  • Never Use Extension Cables

  • Never take a cable across a footpath to charge

  • Do not Use devices to connect the charging cable to the power supply (such as multi-boxes, double plugs or travel plugs)

  • Never use modified charging equipment such as overseas equipment that has been fitted with a New Zealand plug. Never use damaged or faulty charging equipment. Have it checked by the manufacturer!

You can use an adaptor to connect the charging cable to the car, provided it is confirmed for use by the manufacturers of the vehicle and the cable.

Equipment Saftey Checks

When buying an EV, including a used import, you should only be supplied with charging equipment (such as cables) designed for use in New Zealand.

Do not use equipment that doesn’t display a voltage range that includes 230 V, doesn’t have a New Zealand plug, or has been modified (even to fit a New Zealand plug). It isn’t suitable for New Zealand’s electricity supply. Even if it appears to work, you can’t be sure the in-cable safety device will work when it needs to.

Some cables come with an industrial or caravan plug that allows faster charging. These require an electrician to install a special wall power point.

When buying a charging cable or wall-mounted charging unit, or purchasing an EV with a charging cable included, ask the seller for a signed copy of a Supplier Declaration of Conformity. This declaration shows the unit has been tested and meets electrical safety standards.

Charging out and about

There are two types of public charging stations – fast (DC) and slow (AC).

Fast Chargers

Fast chargers help you drive beyond your EV’s battery capacity in one go. They can add 100km of range to the battery in 20-30 minutes. They typically cost about $10 per 100km.

Companies installing fast charging stations include local electricity networks, ChargeNet and Chargemaster. To access a fast charging network you generally need to create an account online first.

Tips

  • All fast charge stations have tethered CHAdeMO and/or CCS Type 2 cables so you don’t need to bring one.
  • Sign-up to a fast charging network for easy billing and payment.
  • It’s better for your battery to fast charge occasionally rather than frequently.
  • The last 20% of the battery takes longer to charge – that’s why fast chargers have an option to charge only to 80%.

Check

  • Most pure EVs can fast charge, but many plug-in hybrid EVs cannot.

Slow Chargers

Slow chargers let you top up your EV while you do something else. You often find them at places such as shops, hotels and tourist attractions.

Charging is usually free and can take several hours.

Tip

  • You usually need to bring your own supply lead to use this type of charger.

How to find charging stations

There is an ever increasing number of fast and rapid public charging stations available throughout New Zealand.

  • A fast charge will take 3-6 hours
  • A rapid charge will take less than half an hour