Top tips for safely charging an EV at home

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 13, 2018

Electric vehicle advocacy group Drive Electric is encouraging potential EV owners to find out if their properties are suitable for home-charging.

Drive Electric board member Eric Pellicer says charging at home is the easiest way to power up an EV.

“The good news is many homes should allow EV charging. But often a standard electrical socket on its own isn‘t safe and specialist electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) is needed. We recommend getting a home assessment done by a qualified professional.”

Electricians are also going through an educational process since the advent of EVs, with professional trade organisation Master Electricians running a series of workshops to help educate their members about likely changes to industry guidelines.

Pellicer says some EV dealers offer home assessments for customers, ensuring they have the information they need when purchasing an EV.

Drive Electric charging expert Nigel Broomhall recommends EVSE, which is WorkSafe compliant, and has a number of built-in safety features.

“Quality chargers are rated for use in heavy rain, ice, snow and excess heat, and will not put you at risk of electrocution. Some cheap products warn you not to charge in the rain, which is not a good sign.

“Professionally installed EVSE also includes the right residual current device protections, and a master switch so the charger can be turned off if you have any issues.”

The key to picking the right charger is finding out the size of the on-board AC charger on the vehicle, Broomhall says. The on-board charger tells you how much energy the car can take in an hour.

“EVs are fantastic and having your own ‘gas station‘ means you always start the day full. But with this comes the need to think carefully about the charger you choose, and how you use it.”

Broomhall says there are other tips EV owners need to be aware of when charging at home, which include never using extension cords with any EVSE equipment because they aren‘t designed to handle the large amounts of electricity required to fill up an EV.

“They can melt, catch fire or even electrocute you. Also, be careful with adaptors. Unless the adaptor has been approved by the charger manufacturer then it is not WorkSafe compliant.”