Solar and electric vehicles tend to go hand in hand when we think about sustainable energy and their uses in our home. But not all EV chargers are created equal and depending on your solar system size, you may find yourself charging more from the grid than your PV.
This will all come down to three things: The charger model, the car model, and how full the car battery already is.
Just like an older model of phone, older model electric vehicles will take longer to charge in comparison to the newest model on the market. This is definitely something to consider when you are purchasing your electric vehicle. Similarly, going for a faster charger will help speed things along also.
EV Charger Types:
There are three different types of EV Chargers with different charging speeds. Level 1, 2 and 3. 1 being the slowest and 3 being the fastest. The fastest and probably the most recognisable are the public Level 3 charging stations, or something like the Tesla Super Charger, which can add up to 720km of extra range on your journey. These ‘Level 3’ chargers are for people travelling and utilising the public charging stations for a fast “fill up”. But keep in mind that a fill up can still take up to 30-45 minutes, so make sure you find a good coffee shop nearby!
Level 2 chargers are specifically made to be installed in your home to make use of your cars down time. Although depending on your power phase, they do vary in charge rates. Single phase power will have a 7kW charging rate, which can add roughly 40kms of range per hour to your electric vehicle, while 3 phase will give you 130km of range at a 22kW charging rate. Some EV manufacturers do require a level 2 charger to be installed upon purchase to ensure your car is kept within warranty, so keep this in mind.
Level 1 charging is utilising a standard 10 amp or 15-amp power point. This will add up to 12kms per hour of range to your EV making it the slowest option for EV charging. A 15-amp power point will give you a slightly faster charge at 18 kms of range per hour, but it does require a special plug. We suggest charging your EV overnight if you want to get the full benefits from a Level 1 charger.
Now that we know about the different charger types, we can talk about how your solar can be used to charge your EV, and what that cost might looks like. Each electric vehicle make, and model, will consume power differently, just like a regular car would. On average most electric cars will get 6km of range from 1kWh of electricity in their EV battery, but keep in mind that you will experience approximately 10% charging loss as well e.g. If your solar panels generate 1kWh of energy, only 900Wh of that will end up as energy in an EV’s battery.
If you have a 1kW solar system (roughly 3 panels as of 2022) it will produce, on average per day annually, 4kWh of electricity. Keeping in mind the fluctuations between summer and winter production. This means you would need to add 2kW more of solar panels to offset the
So, you would need to add around 2kW of solar panels to your roof to offset the charging of an electric car that is driven roughly 50km per day. If you have a Level 2 EV charger pulling from a 6.6 kW sized solar system, you will notice your solar power draining fast.
Remember, you still need to power your house and get through the days with limited sunshine in the winter. This will mean you’ll want at least 10 kW of solar panels to comfortably charge from mostly your PV array throughout the year.
Average cost of driving with a regular petrol car vs an electric vehicle outlined below:
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