Electric Vehicle Home Charger Comparison & Costs

Tesla Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Not only is it a great choice to reduce carbon emissions, but EVs are also significantly cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles.

One factor that comes into play when purchasing and owning an EV is something that owners of petrol and diesel vehicles simply never need to consider – where and how can you ‘fuel up’ or charge your electric vehicle efficiently?

Refilling a petrol vehicle and getting back on the road quickly is a lot easier than charging an EV. Not only are traditional service stations ubiquitous, is takes a lot less time to fill a car with fuel than to charge the batteries of an EV to provide an effective driving range.

The good news though, is that there are more and more public charging stations becoming available, and these can offer a very fast charge for your electric vehicle. And of course, every home has a wall socket to plug in and charge their EV, which is most often done during the night when grid electricity is at its cheapest.

In this article, we’ll look at how electric vehicle chargers work, a comparison of the different types of chargers available in Australia and what they cost, and where EV owners can access public charging stations.

If you live in a residential strata apartment building then a different set of issues apply.


How do EV chargers work?

While charging an EV is as simple as plugging it into a wall socket as you would with any home appliance such as a toaster or kettle, there’s a bit more to it than that.

For example, a standard home wall socket delivers AC power which needs to be converted to DC power before it is fed into the battery of your EV, slowing down the charging process.

Faster charging stations, including those found in public places such as shopping centres or recharge stations, use DC power that is fed directly to the battery, for a much faster charge.

In the lingo of the EV market, the speed of EV charging is categorised as “levels”, while the physical plugs that plug into EVs are referred to as “types”. We’ll consider each in turn.


EV charger levels

There are three basic levels of EV charger speeds – slow, medium and fast. In addition to the charging speed, the size of your EV battery will also play a part in the total time (and cost) to fully charge it.

Transport for NSW has a handy guide here that details various power sources, the output that can be expected, the driving range added per hour of charging, total charging time sorted by the typical type of charging applications.


Level 1 EV ChargerLevel 1 charger (slow):

Also called a “trickle” charge, this is delivered by a standard power cable plugged into a wall socket delivering about 2kW per hour. Adequate for smaller batteries or infrequent driving. It costs nothing to install, but it is a good idea to take a look at your electrical wiring to ensure it is up to the task, and that a dedicated circuit is available for charging your EV.

Small to medium battery (approx. 40kWh) – about 20 hours to charge.

Large battery (approx. 75kWh) – about 37 hours to charge.


Level 2 EV chargerLevel 2 charger (medium):

A dedicated, wall-mounted charging unit that delivers 7kW from a single-phase connection, or 22kW from a three-phase connection. At home, these chargers can provide a full charge overnight, and they can also be found in some public charging stations such as shopping centres. We’ll look in more detail at level 2 chargers available in Australia, but expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for purchase and installation. These units must be installed by a qualified electrician.

Small to medium battery (approx. 40kWh) – about 5.5 hours to charge.

Large battery (approx. 75kWh) – about 10.5 hours to charge.

These figures are for a 7kW single-phase connection, so a three-phase 22kW connection will be around three times faster than the charging times quoted.


Level 3 EV ChargerLevel 3 charger (fast):

These are the high-voltage direct current (DC) chargers that are found at public charging stations. These chargers are featured in Tesla fast charger network. They can deliver a charge from 50kW up to 350kW – note that many EVs can only handle up to 50kW charging. They are expensive to install at around $25,000 each, so are generally only found in public charging stations. Charging times vary depending on the amount of charge your EV can handle, but most cars can be topped up in 30 minutes or less. There are around 2,500 public charging stations in Australia, and this number is constantly growing.


What are the different types of EV charger plugs?

Most EVs come with a standard 10-Amp plug that is suitable to plug into home wall sockets. For level 2 (home) and level 3 (public) charging, there are a handful of different kinds of charger plugs available in Australia.

But not all EV chargers are the same. Different EV manufacturers supply their vehicles with different types of charger plugs which have multiple pins for transferring electricity and managing the flow.

Common charger connections or plugs used in EVs in Australia:

Mennekes EV Charger PlugType 2 (Mennekes):

The standard for EVs in Australia, found on virtually all battery-powered electric vehicles in Australia. Suitable for AC charging.

Electric Vehicle Home Charger Comparison & CostsCharge de Move (CHAdeMO):

A fast charger connection for DC charging, used by a handful of EV brands (mainly Japanese, but some European).

Combined Charging System (CCS) EV Charger PlugCombined Charging System (CCS):

A fast charger connection for DC charging. Many EV brands in Australia have a CCS Combo connection that can plug into a Type 2 connection at home, and a DC fast connection when out and about.


Note also that there are a range of adaptors available to allow EVs with a particular plug type to connect to a different kind of charging station. Not all combinations are available, but might be worthwhile if convenient charging options are not compatible with the plug that came with your EV.


Electric Vehicle home charger comparison

While level 1 charging at home is the most simple solution that doesn’t require the purchase and installation of new equipment, installing a level 2 charger is a better long-term solution. There are costs involved, but it will deliver much faster charging and will supply a full charge overnight to most EVs.

Ideally, you need a garage, or at least off-street parking to install a level 2 charger at home. Choosing the best EV charger for you and your vehicle comes down to where you keep your vehicle overnight and your budget.

Some of the level 2 EV home charger options in Australia include:

Charger Rated Power Cost Price*
MG ZS EV Electric Car Charger MG ZS EV Electric Car Charger 7.6kW $899
Home EV Charger Home EV Charger 7.2kW 32Amp $950
EO Mini Universal EV Charger EO Mini Universal EV Charger 7.2kW $990
Ocular Home Three Phase EV Charger Ocular Home Three Phase EV Charger 22kW $1,150
Jetcharge Wallbox Pulsar Plus Jetcharge Wallbox Pulsar Plus 7.2kW/22kW $1,550
RFID 360 Wallbox Charger RFID 360 Wallbox Charger 22kW $1,659

*Excludes installation costs

Important note – a qualified and licensed electrician must be used to install your home EV charger. There are many companies that offer level 2 charger packages including installation.


A note on Tesla charging stations

Tesla has the largest ‘supercharger’ network in the world with over 25,000 locations. A common question is whether any EV can use the Tesla supercharger network. The short answer is “no”, but that is soon to change according to Tesla.

Until recently, this entire network of charging stations was only available to Tesla electric vehicles, due to a proprietary plug. However, this has begun to change, as Tesla opens up its supercharger network to non-Tesla vehicles in Europe.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has indicated that the entire network will open up to other electric vehicle makes and models by the end of 2022. Stay tuned.


Take charge with your new EV

If you’re new to owning an EV, or considering making a purchase soon, it is important to research the charging options available to you at home, work or in nearby public places.

While you can easily ‘make do’ with the charging equipment that comes with your EV, it is worthwhile to research the options to purchase and install faster, level 2 charging at home.