The smart way to charge

Many wall mounted chargers have 'smart' features, which give you greater control over charging, and offer benefits that other chargers don’t.

Smart charging can reduce your charging time and overall household power costs. It is also the more climate friendly option - reducing emissions and pressure on the national electricity grid, through the ability to charge your vehicle when demand for electricity is lowest.

For the most efficient and convenient home charging, a smart charger is your next step, after choosing an EV.

What you need to know

  • Upfront costs

    • $1000-$1500 (charger)
    • $500–$1000 (installation)

    Installation may cost more if your home’s electrical wiring requires upgrading.

  • Savings

    Compared to charging at peak times, a smart charger can currently save you around $156 a year based on current electricity prices.   

    Savings will rise further when demand flexibility is introduced.

  • When to buy

    • At the same time as a new EV
    • When you’re ready to upgrade your existing charger
  • Benefits

    • Automate your charging preferences
    • Internet/Wifi/app connection
    • Easy access to your charging data
    • High efficiency
    • Smart grid ready
  • Lifespan of tech

    10-15 years

  • Install

    You'll need:

    • Off street parking
    • An internet/wifi connection

Charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at around 40c/litre, depending on your electricity retailer

Richard Briggs – EECA Group Manager Homes, Transport and Government

Why choose a smart charger

  • Speed of charge – Smart EV chargers can be at least 3x faster than a 3-pin plug – which is the default charger type that comes with your EV.
  • Cost savings – Charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at around 40c/litre, depending on your electricity retailer. Your smart charger can be set to preferentially charge your vehicle during these times, avoiding expensive peak periods.
  • Safety – Smart charging is safe charging. The chargers are better at ‘load balancing’, which means that they can respond automatically during peak usage – and avoid overloading your home’s power supply. They also present fewer hazards for users.
  • Smart grid ready – In the near future, when a ‘demand flexibility’ service is introduced in New Zealand, smart EV chargers will be able to react to signals from the electricity grid and reduce the level of charge or turn off when electricity is expensive and ramp up or turn back on when costs reduce.
  • Convenience – You can ensure your car is always fully charged in time for next use, without having to lift a finger – just set and forget!
  • Cleaner – Charging off-peak helps to prevent periods of high demand for electricity. During these off-peak times, our grid is supplied using a higher proportion of renewable energy, and less likely to use fossil fuels to meet demand.
  • Access electricity deals – Electricity supply companies can tell you if they offer lower cost electricity pricing for off-peak charging, and what EV or charger you need to access it (you might want to check if there are other supplier options that suit you better).

How smart charging works

Smart chargers are a relatively new piece of home tech for New Zealanders – so it’s important to know what to look for and how to use them.

Smart chargers have in-built capability to communicate with the electricity grid – and will be able to dial your charging up or down in response to external cost signals in the near future, when demand flexibility is introduced in New Zealand. This is what will help save you money and reduce unnecessary energy use.

Of course, you do not have to charge your EV based on these signals – you can override them at any time and charge your EV if you need to.

You can set your charging preferences, including:

  • The level of charge you want your battery to have
  • The time of day you want your vehicle to be charged by
  • The minimum charge level that you don’t want your battery to fall below.

The smart charger sends these charging preferences either via wifi, or a cloud-based system.

Smart homes - the basics

Efficiency matters

Not all chargers on the market are created equal.

EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) is working on a list of chargers that are recommended based on their energy efficiency and ‘smartness’. 

Beyond the benefits of charging at off-peak times, smart chargers are typically more efficient than 3-pin plug options. This means that less energy is needed for your car to get the same amount of charge.

This list will help you choose a model that will offer you benefits that other chargers don’t.

Common questions

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