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Charging electric vehicles (EVs) at home

For most EV owners, the most convenient way to charge their EV is to plug in overnight at their home. However, electricity companies are increasingly incentivising EV users to charge up their EVs during the middle of the day when there is an abundance of solar energy being generated, with innovative new tariffs such as Time of Use, that make it more attractive to charge EVs at certain times.

Save time, money and emissions when charging your EV by:

For most people, charging your EV at home overnight or during the day will be the cheapest and most convenient way to charge.

By avoiding charging during peak times (typically weekdays between 4pm and 9pm), you can avoid further congestion of the electricity distribution network, which can in turn contribute to lowering the cost of energy for all users.

Read more about the different tariff times.

To make the most of cheaper off-peak pricing, you will need a smart meter and a Time of Use retail electricity tariff that has off-peak and solar sponge pricing.

Some dynamic retail tariffs pass on the wholesale electricity spot price, which can sometimes be negative. This essentially means it is possible that you may be paid to charge your EV battery. Learn more about the different retail tariffs.

Talk to your electricity retailer or refer to the Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website to find out which plan is best for you.

In South Australia, our grid is often powered 100% by solar energy in the middle of the day. Charging your EV when it’s sunny means that you are more likely to be using renewable electricity, even if you don’t have solar panels at home.

The middle of the day will generally also be the cheapest time to charge your battery if your electricity retailer passes on the cheaper network and wholesale electricity price. A smart charger (see below) can make it easy to charge at the cheapest times, and to use renewable energy as much as possible.

The transition to electric vehicles requires a shift in mindset as to when you refuel your car and how long you can expect it to take. Just as you probably don’t wait until your phone battery gets down to 10% before plugging it in, you don’t have to wait until your car battery is empty before charging.

An EV's range (how far it can travel with a fully charged battery) depends on the type of vehicle and its battery capacity. EVs currently on the market in Australia have driving ranges between 200 km and 600 km.

The average South Australian drives 35 kilometres per day. Given this short daily range, most EV owners don't have to plug in every night. This means you can be selective about when and how quickly you charge by waiting for the time of day when you can take advantage of cheaper rates and renewable energy periods.

It may be tempting always to go for the fastest charger, but keep in mind that charging at high speeds may degrade your vehicle's battery more quickly.

A smart Level 2 home charger includes extra features to make it easy to save money and use more renewable energy. By communicating with other energy devices, smart chargers can:

  • Manage the time and rate of charging so that they are aligned with cheaper Time of Use tariffs, which can lower your energy bills.
  • Minimise charge times.
  • Maximise the use of energy from your rooftop solar system.
  • Integrate with a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) that coordinates devices like pool pumps, electric hot water and home batteries.
  • Enable efficient EV charging that will reduce network costs for all consumers and support South Australia’s renewable goals.

We recommend choosing a charger that has internet connectivity and utilises the internationally adopted Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). Check the product data sheet or consult the manufacturer if you are unsure.

Types of home chargers

Select from the list below to see more information about each type of charger.

Electric Vehicle level 1 plug in charger

Portable chargers

  • Also known as a trickle charger.
  • Sometimes referred to as a Level 1 / Mode 2 charger.  
  • Consists of a power cord with a small charging box. 
  • Plugs into a regular domestic power point.
  • Typical charging capacity of 2kW - 3.6kW or 10A - 15A per phase
  • Typically adds 10 km - 20 km of range per hour charged.
  • Often used to top-up charge overnight.
  • Does not require an electrician to install.
Level 2 wall mount charger

Wall mounted EV charger

  • Sometimes referred to as Level 2 / Mode 3 charger.
  • Wall-mounted.
  • Some smart wall-mounted chargers come with features that enable you to schedule charging times or align with solar generation. 
  • Typical charging capacity of 7kW - 11kW or 32A - 50A per phase
  • Typically adds 40 km - 70 km of range per hour charged. 
  • Must be installed by an electrician.
  • Your electrician is required to apply for approval from SA Power Networks on your behalf before a wall-mounted EV charger can be installed. Electricians should refer to our EV charger installer page for more information.


Getting an EV charger installed at home


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1. Select the best EV charger and provider for your needs.

When selecting an EV charging solution for your home there are several factors to consider, including where you park and your average driving patterns.

We recommend choosing a smart charger that can help you save money and optimise with solar generation and other household devices. 

We also recommend speaking to an electrician to determine which product is right for you. Most solar retailers and local electricians now offer services relating to EV charging. 

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2. Work with your electrician to prepare for installation.

An EV charger is likely to be the largest electrical load in your home and may require its own dedicated circuit. Speak to an electrician to determine if any additional electrical work is required to accommodate an EV charger.

Your electrician will then need to lodge an application with SA Power Networks on your behalf before installing the charger. Electricians should refer to our EV charger installation page for more details and instructions.

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3. Charger installation

An appropriately licensed electrician can install EV charging equipment. Your electrician will then need to close out the EV charger application with SA Power Networks when the equipment has been installed.


Future-proofing your home

Consider future-proofing your home by:

  • Opting for a smart charger to unlock benefits like minimising charge times and managing the time and rate of charging.
  • Having a dedicated EV circuit installed in a convenient location for parking when you are renovating or building a new home.

Accessible EV Charging

If you do not have access to off-street parking, there are several other options available for you to charge your EV.

  • Public chargers in workplaces, restaurants, supermarkets, leisure centres, hotels, refuelling stations, highways etc.
  • Kerbside chargers that have charge points on charge pillars or electricity poles.

For more information, visit our page on charging when you’re out and about, or contact your local council to find out what kerbside charging is available in your area.

Unlocking your battery on wheels

Some electric cars on the market today support Vehicle-to-Load (V2L), allowing you to power appliances from power outlets within the vehicle.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) / Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) is an emerging technology where power in the car battery can supply your house or be exported to the grid. This technology can also be used to avoid peak electricity pricing or supply your home during a blackout. 

SA Power Networks is the first electricity distributor in Australia to allow network connection of V2G EV chargers.

This technology is currently being trialled, and we anticipate that it could become a standard feature of EVs and smart chargers over time.

For more information on V2L, V2G and V2H technology in Australia, refer to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) report on Opportunities and Challenges for Bidirectional Charger in Australia and SA Power Networks news.

Need more independent information?

For more information on charging your EV at home, refer to the Australian Electric Vehicle Council Guide.