Electric vehicles or EVs currently make up a small percentage of all vehicles sold around the world, but with most major automotive companies now developing electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid’s (PHEVs), the uptake of EVs is set to explode over the next 5 to 10 years. Many drivers are already considering an EV for their next vehicle purchase, but concerns about price, charging, and range anxiety is holding many people back. Fortunately, with the cost of EVs dropping, plus the benefits of low maintenance and very low running costs compared to traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, EVs are looking much more attractive to regular buyers, especially those with rooftop solar.
One of the big drawcards for those with rooftop solar is the ability to charge an EV using your own power. Charging with your own solar-generated electricity can essentially eliminate the ‘fuel’ cost of an EV altogether. However, in practice, this is not always as easy as it sounds.
HOW TO CHARGE AN EV WITH SOLAR
Charging an EV using rooftop solar is quite easy using a regular 10A plug-in (level 1) charger and a relatively small 5kW solar system.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING OPTIONS
For those with solar installed, the first thing that comes to mind after purchasing an EV is what charging options are available and whether they are compatible with a rooftop solar system. Technically there are three levels of EV chargers, of which only the first two can be used at home. Level 1 is a basic portable charger that can be plugged into any ordinary 10A power socket; these simple chargers come standard with most EV's. Level 2 are compact wall-mounted chargers that are permanently installed on homes and businesses. Level 3 are very large, powerful, fast-chargers generally found at dedicated roadside EV charging stations.
• Level 1 - Portable 10A plug-in chargers up to 2.4kW
• Level 2 - Dedicated wall-mounted chargers from 5kW up to 22kW (Wallbox charger)
• Level 3 - Roadside EV charging stations from 50kW up to 300kW (DC fast charger)