Installing Electric Vehicle (EV) car charging equipment is a relatively simple affair for an electrician – but until now it has been something of a grey area as to how to meet the heavily regulated requirements of the Australian and New Zealand electricity supply systems.
With the release of the latest Australia/New Zealand Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000:2018) the situation has finally been clarified. But it’s going to mean some increase in the cost to install car charging for your new EV.
First of all – the wiring and power point installed to do Mode 2 EV charging must now be at least 20A rated, not the 15A that has previously been the norm. Secondly, any circuit for an EVSE must be a dedicated one run directly to the switchboard – no longer can it include any other power point.
Thirdly – the requirements for safety-switch protection have been changed such that special safety-switches for EV circuits must be used. The cheaper ‘general purpose’ ones previously used will not be acceptable.
And lastly, for Mode 3 EVSEs the installer needs to know if the EVSE includes built-in DC fault protection or not. New Zealand electricians also have an extra set of restrictions as to how and where EVSEs can be connected and placed.
On top of these new requirements, a further issue for installers is that the power an EVSE supplies is now fully accounted for in the Wiring Rules requirements for cable and switchboard sizing.
For homes this will create few (if any) issues – but for strata title properties this could cause major headaches for designers unless special ‘demand management’ software that limits the total power drawn by all the EVSEs together is included in the design of car-park EV charging areas.
All up: for homes, the costs of installing a power point for Mode 2 charging will go up around $100 – $500, whilst costs for a Mode 3 EVSE installation could go up $50 to $200 depending on the safety-switch choice needed.
For strata title buildings – the costs of demand management software and hardware (as well as for EVSEs capable of delivering variable charging outputs) will also need to be added to the pricing. For strata title buildings this could add many thousands of dollars to the installation of EV charging.
On the upside – having certainty around the wiring and control of EVSEs will help the orderly roll-out of EV charging in a way that will not stress the electricity grid, upset owners who want their EVs to charge safely as and when the they need, or burn homes down!
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector for 10 years, and also is editor of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association newsletter.