Electric Vehicles (EV)
In simple terms, EV use electricity to wholly or partially power the vehicle. It can be a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) which typically uses less fuel than similar conventional vehicles due to electric-drive technologies that boost efficiency, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or all-electric vehicle (EV).
The auto industry’s recognition of the EV’s tremendous impact in the future is clearly seen by the major automakers’ heavy investment and participation in EV technology. In recent years, a number of EVs (in its general sense which includes HEVs and PHEVs) have been commercially available in the market such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Toyota Prius and Camry, and Ford Focus Electric to name a few.
Benefit of EV:
- Decreased reliance on petroleum
- Hence increased energy security especially for non-petroleum producing countries
- Most importantly, the considerable reduction in air pollution.
- Current developments made the campaign to reduce air pollution more exigent and crucial in light of the alarming air quality monitored in a number of areas and key metropolis and cities in the world which posts significant health risks.
EV Charging Station
An essential component for the proliferation of EVs is the EV charging station. The
limited EV charging station has been identified as one of the causes for the delay in the
full spread of EVs. In Western Australia, Cockburn Gateway Shopping Centre has already
installed a wind turbine-powered EV charging station which the Australian Electric
Vehicle Association Perth Secretary Antony Day described as ‘a visionary idea’.
- AICA energy proposes the installation of solar powered EV charging station using the most common charging unit reloading management system (Charge Star) which will be operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
- The charging stations will be located within walking distance from the dining, retail and trading areas and will be fully accessible to the public.
Solar Panel Capacity Required
(Home EV Charger)
If you decide you are likely to drive your electric car the Australian average of 38 kilometers a day and estimate you are likely to get 5 kilometers per kilowatt-hour of electricity you use shoving energy into its battery pack, then you will need to charge it with an average of 7.6 kilowatt-hours a day.
Most Australian households can expect to get around 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day for each kilowatt of north facing solar panels they have and around 3.4 for east or west-facing panels. So it would take 1.9 kilowatts of north facing solar panels to match the electricity consumption of the car.
So in general, 2 kilowatts of solar panels should be enough to provide power equal to or greater than the consumption of the average electric car.
- Level 1:
Charging is the slowest rate that’s normally possible and uses a standard power point. This will allow around 20 kilometers of range to be added to an electric car per hour – but this can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
So, if you park for 10 hours overnight, a ‘level 1’ charger will add around 200 kilometers of range to your car.
- Level 2
Charging involves installing a specialised EV charger in your home, which can add over 40 kilometers of range to an EV per hour. There are many brands of EV chargers available, and as a ballpark figure expect to pay ~$2,000 to get one installed.
Be warned that your EV manufacturer may require a level 2 charger to be installed where the car is kept in order for it to stay in warranty.
- Level 3
Charging is rapid charging using dedicated public chargers. Probably the best known example of a ‘level 3’ charger is the Tesla SuperCharger. These types of chargers are most likely to be used by people traveling long distances, or those caught short of charge, as they can add around 400km of range per hour.
An important thing to keep in mind is that not all EVs are able to fully utilise the charging capabilities of a ‘level 3’ charger. If you plan on taking your EV on long trips with the help of a ‘level 3’ charger network, you’ll want to make sure that your chosen car will be able to make use of them.
AGL’s electric car plan allows an electric car to use a home charger at any time for only $1 a day. While this sounds like a good deal, it can still be much cheaper to use a controlled load in Victoria and may also be cheaper in NSW, depending on the vehicle’s average energy consumption.
And even in locations where it is cheaper there are some aspects that aren’t all sweetness and light:
- You will need to pay for the installation of a separate meter.
- You can only charge a single car with the plan.
- You can’t use it as part of running a business.
- $1 a day is only fixed for 12 months, after which they can raise it if they wish.
In the future there may be a wide range of special plans available for charging electric vehicles. They are likely to become common as Australia’s renewable energy capacity increases, resulting in periods of surplus renewable generation. They may offer a very low cost method of charging electric cars.