There are so many great benefits to becoming the proud owner of an EV. From environmental to economic benefits, it’s easy to see why electric vehicle uptake more than doubled in 2021 reaching 6.6 million in sales.

So, you have bought an electric vehicle, but now what? We know that navigating the world of EV charging, maintenance and travel can be a little confusing when you are new to the electric vehicle game. That’s why we have developed our no-nonsense guide to owning an electric vehicle in Victoria, to help any new EV owner get started.

Charging

Get the Important Apps:

There are two major public charging networks in Victoria: Chargefox and Evie. Both of which have accompanying apps that can downloaded onto your mobile device.

Chargefox

Chargefox is Australia’s largest and fastest growing EV charging network and is Australian owned and operated.

Grey app markers in map = in use or in maintenance (out of order)

Orange app markers in map = available for use

Evie

Evie has a wider reach in Victoria, particularly in rural towns. In our experience Evie is more widely available.

Public Charging 101:

We have broken down the key steps and tips to using public EV chargers below.

  1. Download the app for both networks to increase your range of available chargers. This will give you the ability to unlock, charge and monitor your EV while charging.
  2. We strongly recommend also requesting an RFID card/s for instances where there are any issues with the app or if you are in area where you have no mobile phone service.
  3. Download PlugShare, a community driven app that shows the location of compatible chargers worldwide for EV. This includes locations such as hotels and private chargers. For example, in Bendigo at the Hargreaves street multi-story car park there are publicly available chargers that are not registered through Evie or Chargefox, and can only be found through the PlugShare app. The app allows users to upload photos of chargers and leave comments regarding any system faults or issues and PlugShare can be filtered to show only compatible chargers with your vehicle.
  4. Don’t pay for parking! Many public chargers provide free parking while charging with designated spaces for your car.
  5. When charging, your EV has a mechanism that locks the charging cable in place. The only way the safety lock on the charger will release is if you de-activate the charger using your app or card. This can only be done by the person initiating the charging so cannot be fiddled with by other people.
  6. Charging times vary depending on your vehicle and how much charge your battery already has. Generally, under 80% charge you can expect your EV to charge relatively quickly. For more information on individual car charging times, JET Charge have developed a quick guide that can be found here: https://jetcharge.com.au/resource/how-fast-can-my-ev-charge/

At home charging – Best Practices:

  1. Upon purchasing your EV, you will receive a standard travel charge kit that will plug into a standard wall socket. This delivers around 3kW of charge per hour, which takes on average 16-18 hours to charge your car fully from flat. A typical use for these chargers is overnight charging where your battery isn’t completely depleted, thus only requiring 6-8 hrs of charge.
  2. If you want to decrease charge time there are more efficient chargers available on the market such as the Wallbox Pulsar Plus. The Wallbox Pulsar Plus will at minimum halve the charge time of your vehicle in comparison to a standard charge kit. If you have a three-phase home you can anticipate your car to charge in a quarter of the time a traditional charge kit will take to charge your vehicle (manufacturer/make of the car dependent).
  3. It is crucial to ensure your Wallbox Pulsar Plus charging solution is installed by a qualified electrician. With the introduction of a solar solution, you can offset your charging by utilizing your solar energy during the day to charge your EV. Load-shifting scenarios.

Maintenance of your EV for optimal performance

  1. Ensure the vehicle’s tire pressure is kept to manufacturer specifications. This ensures that there is less rolling resistance when in motion increasing overall vehicle efficiency.
  2. It’s important to be aware that use of electrical features on the car such as climate control and air con can affect your vehicles efficiency.
  3. Excess speed and acceleration impacts efficiency by consuming additional power from the battery. Gentle acceleration and the use of features such as economy mode and cruise control can help reduce battery consumption.
  4. Regenerative braking is a feature of EVs and works by harvesting an electric vehicle’s kinetic energy through the action of slowing down, which is then sent back into the EV as usable power.
  5. One of the benefits of owning an electric vehicle is that your service intervals become further apart and your overall service costs will be lowered. With no oil to replace and fewer moving parts within the mechanics of the vehicle, servicing an EV is a much simpler task.

Travel

  1. Purchase a travel kit if you have not already received one with the purchase of your vehicle, this consists of a portable charger (normally supplied when vehicle is purchased), and a suitable public charging cable. These can be purchased through JET Charge if you haven’t already got one. A travel kit is great for emergency situations because you can charge your vehicle from a standard power point.
  2. Plan your route – use the charging network apps to pre-plan and determine where your charge stops will be during your trip. The Plug Share app is particularly handy for this because it has a route planner function and can filter to only compatible chargers to suit your vehicle.

Got solar?

How do zero running costs for your car sound? Did you know that when you install a solar system on your home you can charge your electric car with the energy your panels generate?

At Cola Solar we can add an EV charging solution to your bespoke solar system quote. Have a chat to one of our solar consultants today by calling us on 1300 374 357 or visit our contact page at https://www.colasolar.com.au/contact/ to submit an online enquiry.