Renewable energy is the way of the future. Maybe you have recently decided to purchase an electric car or are just exploring your options? One factor that you will need to investigate is how you are going to charge your new electric car. This brings us to the question of installing solar power in your home.

With so many Aussies installing solar panels on their rooftops, why not use this power to recharge your electric car? It makes perfect sense to use the surplus energy generated by your panels to recharge your electric car for free. This means no more fuel bills for your car ever again!

Let’s look at the types of electric cars that can be charged at home and then at the types of chargers available on the market.

Types of Electric cars that you can charge at home

There are essentially two types of electric cars that can be plugged in at home and make use of your excess solar energy. These are the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

With both an electric motor and a diesel or petrol engine, these cars are often referred to as hybrids, and give you have the best of both worlds with a PHEV. The electric battery is not only powered by regenerative braking but also by simply plugging it in at home. The electric motor is best suited for short trips, because of its limited capacity and needs to be recharged frequently. As the technology improves these distances will become longer, but for the moment, the combustion engine cuts in to take over for longer trips.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

For the electric car purists, the BEV is your best option as it only has an electric motor.  Clearly this option is best suited for short trips close to home (until there are more public charging stations available), but with zero carbon emissions, it’s the best solution for reducing your carbon footprint. This is the car that suits city dwellers!

tesla electric car

Types of chargers

Your electric car comes with a lithium-ion battery, whether it’s a PHEV or a BEV. However, as often occurs, not all these vehicles share the same connection points for recharging. This means that you will need to install a charging point that is specific to your vehicle at home. You have three options for charging your electric car: fast charging, wall charging and standard electric socket charging.

Fast charging: For this you need a high-voltage DC charger, but currently, none are available for home charging. They are available at public charging points, such as some shopping centres and even petrol stations. Despite not being commercially available to households these are great, because they charge your car very quickly in around 20 to 30 minutes.

Wall chargers: Known as EV chargers, this option converts AC to DC and are the best option for charging your car at home, especially when used with a home battery. It takes about 8 hours for a full charge, but if you’ve only done a short trip to the shops and back it’s likely you won’t even need to charge your car more often than once a week.

Standard electrical socket: Often the easiest option as every household has these. It will take around 18 hours for a full charge, so it’s not the most practical choice, but if you don’t use your electric car much or travel too far this could suit your needs.

So, if you have been wondering how you can monetise your solar panels now that the feed-in tariffs have reduced, maybe a free source of energy for your car is the best way to go.