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Frequently asked questions

What you need to know when charging your electric vehicle

Public EV charging stations can be used for topping up during the day at your destination, or when you are on a long journey. 

You can find a charging station on the open-source Plug Share website or read more on our page about charging when you’re out and about.

Private EV charging can be found at workplaces, retail and accommodation locations, or can be installed at home. Read more about the different options for charging at home.

The charging speed of your EV depends on many factors, including the vehicle model, the type of charging station, and how much charge the car battery already has. You should therefore check your vehicle specifications before choosing a charger to ensure that it will suit your needs.

AC (alternating current) is the kind of power we use every day at home, but EVs work on DC (direct current). When charging a vehicle, the AC supply must be converted to DC by the on-board charger. This makes AC charging slower than DC charging.

For example, a 50kW DC fast charger on the side of the highway (Level 3) can give you 340 km of range per hour charged when the battery is 20% - 80% charged when first plugged in. Generally, the rate of charging will slow as the battery fills up. 
On the other hand, portable chargers (Level 1) can take up to 24 hours to get a full charge.

Depending on your lifestyle and priorities, you may be able to save money if you switch to Time of Use tariff (ToU). With a Time of Use electricity tariff: 

  • EVs can be charged overnight at the cheaper off-peak rate. Learn more electricity tariffs.
  • Solar sponge tariffs provide an additional super off-peak period in the middle of the day. 

Not sure if Time of Use is right for you? The Australian Government's Energy Made Easy website lets you search and compare energy offers to find the best deal.

What you should know when installing an EV charger at home

Costs will vary depending on the type of charger installed and your specific needs. The best starting point for getting a quote is to contact a licensed electrician. They can assess your specific needs, explain the next steps, and submit your connection application on your behalf through SmartApply.

For more information on options for charging your EV at home, check out our Charging at Home page.

Your licensed installer needs to be aware of standards and regulations for installation of an EV charger. They can read more on our Solar and Other Generators page.

Chargers larger than 20A single phase or 25A 3-phase will require an exemption from SA Power Networks. Your electrician can obtain this using SmartApply.

Yes there are several ways you can use the energy from your solar system to charge your electric vehicle, each with increasing complexity:

  • Simple time window optimisation (e.g. charge during peak solar hours)
  • Installing an EV charger that monitors your connection point to the grid and rather than exporting solar, it diverts and charges your vehicle (solar diverter)  
  • Connecting your solar system and EV charger to sync and optimise charging using a Home Energy Management System (HEMS)

Depending on the type of charger you are installing, your current electricity connection could be suitable. It is best to engage an electrician for an assessment. 

Contact a registered electrician or your local electric vehicle dealer.

All our technical standards and regulations can be found on our Industry page.

The SA Government website and industry bodies like NECA and the Clean Energy Council are good resources.

What you should know when using your EV

Sites like the Electric Vehicle Council or built-in car navigation systems can direct you to the nearest charging location, and also show if the station is available to use. They can also provide information on cost and what connectors are available.

In the same way as your conventional car can be damaged when it runs to empty and run out of fuel, it can damage an electric vehicle if your car runs out of charge. Running completely out of power is known as 'deep discharging' and can lead to battery deterioration, which will reduce its performance and ability to hold charge. If you have less than 10-20% charge left, it is always best to recharge, rather than letting it discharge completely.

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

A vehicle with bi-directional charging capability – also known as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) or Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) charging – can not only take power from the grid, but can also supply power back to the grid, or power a home by using energy from the EV battery.

This effectively enables your electric vehicle to act as a home battery, storing energy that can be used to power your home, or be sold back to the grid.

Find out more about electric vehicles

EVs can provide a significant cost-of-living benefit for owners, and are better for the environment and community health.

For more information, check out our page on EV benefits and the Electric Vehicle Council Consumer Hub.
 

To support South Australia’s shift towards electric vehicles, there are various incentives offered by both the state and federal governments. You can get more information at:

  • Incentives for electric vehicles on the Department of Treasury and Finance website
  • Electric vehicles on the Department of Energy & Mining website
     

SA Power Networks is a key enabler for South Australians to transition to electric transport, facilitating reliable, affordable and clean charging options.

 

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If you have other questions about EVs, check out the Electric Vehicle Council consumer hub.