Charging at home

The cheapest and most convenient way to charge an EV is to simply plug in at home. An EV costs the equivalent of $1.60c litre to ‘fill up’ when charged at home off-peak, including road user charges (RUC). 

Not all EV chargers are created equally – and the different types on the market offer different benefits. The type you decide to buy will impact how fast you can charge it, how much you’ll spend on electricity, and can impact whether your home’s wiring is up to the job. 

Knowing the key differences between the types EV chargers available can help you make the best purchase for your needs.

Types of home chargers

If you’re buying an EV, look for the best charger you can get for your money. A smarter, more efficient model is the safest, fastest, and most convenient way to ensure your vehicle is fully charged when you need it.

‘Smart’ wall mounted charging unit - Many wall mounted chargers have 'smart' features, which give you greater control over charging, and offer benefits that other chargers don’t – be sure to ask your supplier if the charger you’re looking at is smart capable.

Standard wall-mounted charging unit — Wall mounted models make charging your EV simple, safe and efficient. They require installation in an off-street parking spot, and are typically more efficient than a portable cable.

Portable 3-pin cable — a portable charger is typically supplied with your EV when you buy it. You can get by using one of these, but if you use your EV a lot, a wall mounted charger will be faster, more convenient, and safer. Portable chargers can be used when other charging options aren't available, but are not designed to be used as the primary means of home charging, and are unlikely to be suitable for higher capacity EV models with extended range (as they are limited in the amount of electricity they can conduct).

The smart way to charge

Not all chargers are created equally. ‘Fuelling up’ your EV using a smart charger can reduce charging costs, take pressure off the national electricity grid, and help reduce New Zealand’s carbon footprint through prioritising renewable energy and avoiding fossil fuel electricity generation.

Different levels of smart charging

  • Basic

    If you have a charger that isn’t smart capable, you can make the most of low-cost charging by plugging in your EV at off peak times.

  • Moderate

    Some energy suppliers offer competitive rates for EV owners, further incentivising off-peak charging.

  • Advanced

    A smart charger lets you automate when you charge your EV, and programme certain preferences. This is often through an app.

  • Future-proof

    In the near future, you’ll be able to sign up to automate your smart charging, based on signals from the grid that change depending on renewable resource availability.

How to charge an EV

Charge an EV by just plugging it in

  • Charge inside or outside. It's all good, rain or shine, so long as all equipment is designed for use in New Zealand and for the conditions in which it will be used.
  • Smart home chargers make off-peak charging easy. Smart wall-mounted units can be programmed to charge when the cost to you is lowest.
  • Choose the right power company. Check off-peak times and tariffs, and if they offer special rates for EV owners.

Get more out of a single charge

  • Fully charge your EV before you set off.
  • Warm up the interior before you unplug the EV.
  • Inflate tyres to the right pressure.
  • Drive smoothly at a steady speed.
  • Be aware that cold weather reduces an EV's range, particularly if heaters and demisters are used.
  • Remove heavy luggage or accessories you don't need, such as roof racks.

Safety first

It's important to use the right equipment, in the right way, to protect your wiring and keep everyone safe.

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

EECA commissioned Standards New Zealand to develop a free guide to buying and using an efficient, smart home charger.

Electric vehicle chargers for residential use | EECA(external link)

Read Worksafe's advice on safely charging your EV at home(external link)

Equipment safety 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 230V, 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.

Wall-mounted charging units must be installed by a registered electrician who 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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