Can You Charge an Electric Vehicle with a Solar Battery?
When operating at maximum output, many of the solar PV systems installed on Australian homes create more electricity than they use. When this occurs, a solar PV system’s inverter will send any excess electricity it can’t use to the grid.
Because formerly high feed-in tariffs have been reduced to between just 7 - 10 cents around the country, many consumers are looking at investing in a solar battery bank to store their excess solar electricity.
With electric vehicles boasting lower upfront and running costs than their petrol counterparts, EV’s are seeing a quick uptake similar to that of solar batteries. Because of this, this blog will examine the viability of charging your EV with a battery bank.
EVs in Australia
To begin, we’ll quickly run through the two main types of plug-in Electric Vehicles found in Australia.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
Hybrid Electric Vehicles or HEVs have been on Australian roads since the early 2000s. While they use petrol/diesel as their main source of energy, the vehicle is supplemented with electricity.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
Battery Electric Vehicles or BEVs are full electric vehicles, only using electricity and no petrol or diesel. As such, they produce zero direct carbon emissions.
While less environmentally friendly, HEVs usually have a longer driving range than BEVs, thanks to their petrol or diesel engine. However, when operating in electric-only mode, HEVs have a lower range due of the added weight of their internal combustion engine.
How Do I Charge an Electric Vehicle’s Battery?
All plug-in EVs sold in Australia utilise a lithium-ion battery, usually very similar to the technology found in a lot solar batteries. However, because plugs and connectors differ between vehicles, types of charge points cannot always be used interchangeably.
As a general rule, there are three ways to charge a plug-in EV.
Level One: Fast Charging
Fast Charging is done through a high-voltage DC charger at a public charging station. By supplying power directly to the battery, your EV can fully charge in just twenty to thirty minutes.
RAC has established an electric highway in WA that utilises Fast Charging technology.
Level Two: Wall Charger
Wall chargers convert AC to DC, and are often found in homes, restaurants, hotels, and shopping centres. Fully charging your EV will take around eight hours.
Level Three: Electric Socket
In Level Three charging, an EV’s mobile charge cable is simply plugged into an electrical socket. The slowest charging method, your EV will take approximately 14 hours to fully charge.
Is it Cheaper to Run a Petrol or Electric Vehicle?
In Australia, the average price for electricity is around 26 cents per kWh, and it takes approximately 18kWh to power a standard EV to travel 100km. This means it will cost approximately $4.70 in electricity charges to travel 100km.
In contrast, the average petrol car uses 10.6 litres of fuel per 100km. If fuel is $1.30 per litre, it then costs $13.80 to travel 100km.
As the average kilometres travelled in Australia for private vehicles is around 13,250km, vehicles owners switching from petrol to electric could save up to $1,200 per year.
Is it Possible to Charge an Electric Vehicle with a Solar Battery?
In a word, yes! Your battery inverter will ensure your home uses your own stored solar electricity first, only accessing additional energy from the grid when your own supply is not enough.
While it’s unlikely you could fully charge your car using just your solar battery (the average capacity of battery banks is around 13kWh), using just ten units of stored solar electricity could lead to savings of $950 per year.
You could further increase your savings by trying to charge the rest of your EV’s battery in daylight hours, taking advantage of the free electricity your solar system is generating.
To learn more about the benefits of EV chargers or solar batteries for your home, give us a call on 1300 074 669, or click here for a no obligation callback.