Ultimate EV Charging guide

The Ultimate EV Charging Guide (Australia)

Understanding the different types of chargers, connectors, and speeds for new EV owners can be a little confusing. So, we have put together this easy-to-understand guide to explain the options and help you select the best home charging solution for your needs.

The charging specifications in this guide refer to Australian spec chargers and power systems.

Charging Types (speeds)

There are 3 main charge types currently in use today, each type has different charging speed.

Level 1 – Slow Charging
Level 2 – Fast Charging
Level 3 – Rapid Charging

Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.

CurrentSpeedPower OutputLocationAverage total cost
Level 1ACSlow – 10km/h2kw – 2.3kwAny mains outlet$500
Level 2ACFast – 40km/h7.2kw – 22kwHome or public$2000
Level 3DCRapid – 250km/h+50kw – 350kwPublic only$50,000

Level 1 – AC Slow Charging

A level-1 charger, also known as an ’emergency’ or ‘mobile’ charger, is sometimes included when purchasing a new EV.

Level 1 charger, mobile charger

When to use a Level 1 charger

A Level 1 charger is best used as a last-resort charging method when no Level 2 charging options are available. A scenario where you may use a Level 1 Charger could be when you travel rural and decide to charge slowly overnight rather than trying to find a Level 2 or Level 3 charger.

Some people may use a Level 1 Charger as their home charging solution; although this will work, it is generally not recommended as a permanent solution.

Level 1 Charging Speed

The speed of a Level 1 charger is the slowest of all charging methods, with an output of around 2kw; an average electric car will charge at a speed of around 10km of range per charging hour. This is why Level 1 Charging is considered an emergency or overnight charging solution only.

Level 1 Charger Location

Level 1 chargers are small in size and many people keep them onboard with their vehicle.

Installation of a Level 1 Charger

Level 1 chargers plug into a regular 230v wall outlet and do not require any specialised installation. They are similar to a regular battery charger for an e-bike.

Cost of a Level 1 Charger

Level 1 chargers are sometimes included with the vehicle; however, purchasing a level 1 charger usually costs between $300 and $600.

Level 2 – AC Fast Charging

A level 2 charger is a dedicated charger installed by a licensed technician. It charges much faster than a Level 1 charger and is essential for regular, convenient charging of your EV.

tesla level 2 charging melbourne

When to use a Level 2 charger

Level 2 chargers are best used as the primary or common charging method for your EV. They provide a perfect blend of convenience, speed and price to ensure that charging is as quick and easy as possible.

Level 2 Charging Speed

Level 2 chargers can output a maximum of 7.2kW on a single-phase connection or 11kW on a 3-phase connection. Although some will claim an output of 22kW, most EVs in Australia are limited to 11kW.

The maximum speed of a level 2 charger will depend on the vehicle’s ability to accept the charge speed. As an example, the Tesla Model 3 can accept up to 11kw of charge speed.

For an average EV, a level 2 charger can provide up to 70km of range per charging hour.

Level 2 Charger Location

Level 2 chargers are fixed-position chargers and should be installed near where you will park your EV, such as a garage, carport, or parking space.

tesla home charger installation melbourne

You may also find many Level-2 chargers around Australia installed at convenient locations. These are referred to as ‘convenience chargers’ or ‘destination chargers’ and are managed by either the local councils or private establishments that seek to cater for EV owners.

ev charging station Melbourne

Some electric vehicles will have destination chargers in their onboard maps, making locating a Level 2 charger easy.

To see all the public Level 2 chargers available in Australia, you can download an app called PlugShare from the App Store or Google Play Store.

You can go here to see an interactive map of all the public charge locations in Australia.

installation of a Level 2 Charger

Level 2 chargers require a licensed electrician to install as they are hardwired and require a separate circuit to be wired to the meter box. This is due to their high-powered nature. It also means they are the safest option for regular hassle-free home charging.

Cost of a Level 2 Charger

There are many different types of level 2 chargers available, and the cost will depend on the degree of sophistication of the unit. A basic Level-2 charger will cost around $750, and a more sophisticated unit will cost around $2500.

The installation cost of a level 2 wall charger in Melbourne starts at $600 and goes up from there, depending on the complexity of the installation.

Level 3 – DC Rapid Charging

A level 3 charger may also be referred to as a “Supercharger”, “High-Speed Chrager”, or “Rapid-Charger”. These are the highest-speed chargers currently available for electric cars.

They use direct current (DC) for their charging architecture and are very sophisticated in design. Because of this, Level-3 chargers are costly to install and are generally only available as public infrastructure.

chargefox charging station ballarat

When to use a Level 3 charger

Level 3 chargers are used for road trips or interstate driving. This is why you will see many Level-3 chargers on popular long-distance routes as it will allow an EV driver to travel long distances without the need for overnight charging.

If you cannot charge at home, using level 3 chargers will be your best option, as they are much quicker than level 2.

Level 3 chargers are the most expensive way to recharge your EV; the convenience fee is built into the price. For comparison, in Melbourne, where the average electricity cost is 25c per kWh, a level 3 charger will cost around 70c per kWh.

Level 3 Charging Speed

Level-3 chargers can provide anywhere from 25kw to 350kw of charge power; however, the main limitation will be the vehicle’s ability to accept the charge speed.

A Level-3 charger can charge an average EV from 20-80% in less than 30 minutes. Tesla’s Superchargers are renowned for charging speeds up to 850km/h. With speeds like this, a 5-minute visit to a Supercharger can provide up to 70km of driving range.

tesla superchargers melbourne

Location of Level 3 Chargers

Level-3 chargers are generally located in public high-traffic locations. Most new electric cars have an inbuilt feature within the maps that will allow you to navigate to the nearest public charging station, or they will factor in a charging stop when entering in a distance where charging is required.

The map below shows the location of every public charge station in Australia along with its speed type and connector type.

installation of Level 3 Chargers

Level-3 chargers are a commercial product and require a specialised technician to install them as the level of sophistication and technical complexity is high, particularly when it comes to getting power to the unit from the grid. Some companies specialise in selling, installing and servicing Level-3 chargers.

How much does a level 3 charger cost

As Level-3 chargers are a commercial product, they are not intended to be sold to consumers for home use. The starting price for an independent Level-3 charger is around $10k + installation, and can go north of $250k for 350kW ultra fast chargers.

Charge Connector Plug Types

The charging connector or charging plug is the part of the charger that physically connects or plugs into the vehicles charge socket.

There are 2 categories of plug types in EV charging,

AC Connectors – Level 1 and Level 2 chargers

DC Connectors – Level 3 chargers

AC Plug Types (Level 1 & Level 2 chargers)

Type 1

type 1 ev connector

These are the earlier connectors and are not seen much any more. They are also known as J1772 or SAE J1772 and are found on vehicles such as the first-generation Nissan Leaf, Holden Volt and many other early plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).

Type 2

Type 2 EV charge connector

This is the connector that is used by all modern electric vehicle manufacturers, it is considered the new standard in Australia and some other parts of the world. It is also known as a the IEC 62196 or the Mennekes connector.

It is distinguishable by its unique 7 pin design which allows for 3-phase charging, unlike the type-1 connector.

DC Plug Types (Level 3 chargers)

CCS

CCS Connector

CSS or ‘Combined Charging System’ is quickly becoming the new standard in DC rapid charging. All new electric cars available in Australia use the CCS standard. It may also be referred to as the ‘CCS combo 2’ connector as it utilised the type 2 connector in conjunction with 2 extra pins underneath to allow for DC rapid charging.

CHAdeMO

CHAdeMO connector

CHAdeMO is one of the earliest rapid charging standards. It can deliver around 150kw of power. Recently CHAdeMO announced a 3.0 standard that can charge at a whopping 500kw. Many early EVs, particularly from japan utilised this standard, however, over the years CCS has gained in popularity and many automakers have moved to CCS as the new standard in rapid charging.

Some vehicles in Australia which utilised this connector were the Mitsubishi i-Miev and the Nissan Leaf (first gen).

Home Charging

Home charger installation Melbourne, EV Mojo

Upon purchasing an electric car it is highly advised to purchase and install a Level-2 charger at home. This will provide the best balance of charging speed and convenience.

The initial investment for a level 2 charger starts at around $1500 to supply and fit the charger. As charging connectors and systems are now standardised, it will be highly likely that you will be able to use the charger with any other upcoming electric cars you may purchase in the future.

Some vehicles may come bundled with a level 2 charger so it is always best to check with the vehicle manufacturer prior to purchasing a 3rd party charger as this could save you around $750 if one is included with the vehicle.

Conclusion

We hope that we have helped untangle some of the confusing terms and options when it comes to charging your new electric car.

Level 2 charging is the most common charging type that many electric car owners will use as they can easily be installed in a regular garage. Level 1 charging should be reserved for emergency use only while level 3 provides speed and destination convinience.

Although there are 4 different connector types, the most common 2 in use today are the Type 2 connector for AC charging and the CCS connector for DC rapid charging. It is great to finally see a standard that electric car manufacturers are conforming with, this will make investing in a quality home EV charger more cost effective in the long run as it can be used with most of the upcoming models.

If you are in Melbourne and want to get a Level 2 charger installed at your house or business, contact us today for a free quote.