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Living with and charging an EV

EcoNetwork Members in Action: Living with and charging an EV

By Les and Anne Pinney

AC/DC Charger at sports ground in Newcastle requires the EV owner to supply their own cable for AC charging.

An electric vehicle (EV) is basically a battery and computer on wheels with one or multiple electric motors.

It is debatable if without Tesla, EV’s would have developed to the extent they have and that legacy automakers would have joined the transition. Developments in battery technology have helped greatly and are continuing, such development will continue to bring costs down and energy density up.

Every household’s vehicle needs are different and this is my experience of charging ours over the 2 years we’ve had our battery electric vehicle (BEV).

Our EV is a 2018 model 28kWh BEV Hyundai Ioniq (Ioniq is also available as Hybrid, HEV or Plug in Hybrid, PHEV) bought from Booths Motors Gosford in 2019. (Booths is the nearest Blue Drive dealer for Hyundai electric vehicles).

EV charging can be done with AC (alternating current, grid electric).

For optimum battery management, charging and discharge is kept within the 20-80% range where possible. 

AC charging is done using the vehicles on board inverter/changer – the size of which affects charging time. All EV’s come with an emergency charging cable which plugs into a standard 10amp power point. Some EV owners use these exclusively to charge their vehicles. Charging time is approximately 20km range/hre at 2.2kWh for our Ioniq.

NRMA 50kw DC rapid charging units like this one at Nabiac are used for longer trips.
Zappi Home Eco charging unit is used for recharging 95% of the time.
Public AC charging at Greenhills.
Photos: © L&A Pinney

Approximately 95% of our charging is done at home with the vast majority of the electricity coming from our roof top solar via a Zappi home Eco charging point. This can be set to use exclusively surplus solar if required or a combination down to the minimum charge rate of 1.2kWh. If we wish, the Zappi will charge the full 28kWh in less than 4.5 hours. Trips to Sydney to visit family (covid permitting) are done on a single charge with a recharge from a regular power point taking approximately 10 hours overnight.

Our experience of charging away from home

Before lockdowns we had a few days in Coffs Harbour – our longest day trip to date. On our trips, both north and south bound on the Pacific Highway, we used the NRMA 50kw DC fast chargers at Nabiac and Sovereign Place, Thrumster. DC is suited to longer trips with shorter charging times normally sufficient for a coffee stop or lunch break.

Regenerative breaking is something not experienced by non EV drivers. This means an EV can be driven with minimal use of the foot brake. Here’s an example.

During our stay in Coffs we had a drive up to Dangars Falls just off the B78 Waterfall Way at Dorrigo. This entailed an 11km drive up from Bellingen and then the descent on our return. The 11km descent increased our driving range by 13km due to EV regenerative breaking. We actually arrived back in Bellingen with the same range that we started the descent 20km or so before!

If you have the opportunity to ride in or drive an EV, please do not pass it up – you won’t regret it.

Useful links:

The embarrassingly easy, tax-free way for Australia to cut the cost of electric cars – The Conversation, November 16, 2021

Renew magazine Oct – Dec 2021: EVs for newbies. A comprehensive guide to the electric revolution.

Australia’s road to zero transport emissions

EcoNetwork’s Sustainable Futures Festival.

Published: 30 Nov 2021