Conversations with electric vehicle drivers in the UK and New Zealand point to a massive increase in the availability of free charging at Level 2 charging stations. This leads us to the next question: With the spread of chargers, do I need a home charger? How about that road trip over the weekend?
“It’s the only way I have it charged. There are plenty of free chargers in Christchurch (New Zealand) and it’s very handy. I always plug it in when I shop because every store I visit has a charger,” says Will Downs.
Personally, all I need is to have enough power at home – just from powerpoint – to get to the quick charger on the highway. (Australia and New Zealand have 240V outlets.) So I thought I’d play with some scenarios:
Scenario A: Bill has a short commute – less than 12 miles – and the ability to charge his car for free at work as part of his salary. Does it need a home charger? Mostly not.
Scenario B: Iris is retired and rarely drives her electric car, doctor, goes shopping and restaurants, and when she goes out. All these places have installed level 2 chargers and offer this service to attract customers. Does she need a home charger? Probably not?
Scenario C: David is also retired but supports his working adult children by taking his grandchildren home with childcare. This is a 60 km round trip. He has a 15A outlet in his garage, which gives him a range of 20km/h for charging. Again, it probably doesn’t need a home charger.
Just as we need to think carefully about the electric vehicle that best fits our lifestyle, we also need to think about what charging options, if any, to install in the home. Yesterday, at our monthly coffee, cake and electric vehicle at Bracken Ridge Tavern, I found myself having this conversation with a couple who had just returned from the UK. They were amazed at the number of electric cars on the road and the number of free charging stations in malls.
They asked about the need for home charging (they already have a 10A outlet in their garage). I found myself telling them – why don’t you wait until you have the car for a month to see if you really need it?
Perhaps this is another step towards developing a new ecosystem. I’d love to hear your story if you’d like to share it.
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