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What Charger to Buy - Tesla, Zappi, Other?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by louco73, Oct 18, 2020 at 6:41 AM.

  1. louco73

    louco73 Member

    Oct 19, 2019
    Gold Coast
    I've been living without home charging since purchasing my M3P+ in December last year. I'm renting in an apartment complex that doesn't have anywhere to charge. The Tesla Wall Connector that I received with my car is installed at my parents place. That's allowed me to use that charger when visiting them, the Chargefox charger at Helensvale (Gold Coast), and a destination charger at Hope Island Market Place when grocery shopping. It's been fairly hassle free, plus the kids love going charging because they get to play games or use Trax. When I've had to go to the office in Brisbane I've used a car park that has a couple of destination chargers that meant city parking costs were minimal after the work discount and free charging.

    Anyway, big changes are afoot after we purchased a house at the end of June and are now renovating it. I'm putting in 15 KW of solar panels with a 3 phase inverter. The solar will be fairly balanced throughout the day with panels to the North-East (dead in line with the winter sun) and the rest facing North-West. The property is North-East facing. The image below is taken from a solar quote that I received, to give you an idea.


    The idea is to look ahead to when both our cars are EVs so that we have plenty of capacity and the ability to add batteries when they come down in price (hopefully in a year or two).

    The large consumers of electricity in the new house will be a heat pump for hot water, induction for cooking, a pool pump, AC for cooling/heating and I'm considering an electric pool heater. I noticed from some YouTube videos that people use additional devices to orchestrate where the solar goes, e.g. battery first, then hot water, then car.

    The Tesla Wall Connector Gen 3 is not available in Australia yet. I was hoping this would introduce an integrated experience with a Powerwall and solar to provide smart power management capability similar to the devices I saw in the YouTube videos. Since it's not available I wondered about the Zappi, given its ability to have multiple modes depending on what your situation is, e.g. grid time of use, grid plus solar, or solar only. The Zappi is a lot more expensive though.

    I could probably just order another Tesla Wall Connector and manage the car charging by adjusting the amps to make sure I maximize the solar component of the charge.

    Any advice, suggestions and experience welcome!
  2. Shallowal

    Shallowal Member

    Aug 31, 2019
    open EVSE along with "openenergy monitor" will track your solar export and divert power to your car just like zappi. In addition the openenergy monitor will monitor your whole house power usage and provide endless options for analysing the data. You do need to be interested in IT though.
    • Like x 1
  3. paulp

    paulp Active Member

    Jul 23, 2015
    Adelaide, Australia
    Have a pool, 2 tesla, 30kw of solar and 3 powerwall.
    Pool heating is hydronic cast within the pool floor. Its not overly usefull as its too slow and connected to the undefloor bathroom heating preventing me from heating both, even though we have ample solar to do that. I’m in the process of installing a madimack pool heat pump to look after the pool water more directly. Its only a couple of kw so will easily work off the solar
    I dont really need to manage the car charging much other than in winter. I’ve found 8amp 3 phase works well, and on a nice day the powerwalls charge by midday, so realistically I can just charge the cars at any time on a nice day and fill them and the batteries....and still manage to export enough for another battery. I dont charge cars on an overcast day, and the only automation I need to consider for 9 months of the year is making sure the cars stop charging by the time the solar slows down, so I set the charging time based on the available hours remaining for good solar.
    Winter is trickier as there just isnt enough solar, so nothing to manage as I dont fill the batteries so just manage car charging on a nice sunny winter day as I dont like to put fossil power in my tesla, but I just end up putting fossil power into the house instead. No amount of automation is going to change the solar output.
    Hence unautomated is relatively easy to manage once you get into good habits.
    Also a modern pool pump on low speed uses hardly any power and are quiet. If the house has an older pool pump its probably worth upgrading. Research ot well though. Also a cover for a heated pool is critical.
  4. begg

    begg Member

    Aug 26, 2019
    I have 25 kw of solar a power wall and car. Agree with paulp and have green power so any power I must use in winter coming from the grid is clean solar or wind.
  5. Petergarrett38

    Nov 23, 2018
    Gold Coast, Australia
    I one day hope to have the level of kit that Paul has but for now what I have is 10kw solar and a Tesla wall connector. I had survived similar to you, off shopping malls and carparks near my work for 12-18 months while living in Canberra. I recently moved to the GC and have always wanted solar so put up 10kw. The solar produces about 7kw on a sunny day and 3kw on a cloudy day. I set the car to start charging at 8am when the sun comes up and that works well for us. the solar charges the Tesla at 35km per hour and we rarely drive more than 100km in a day. At 12pm the pool pump kicks in drawing about 3-4kw and runs till 4pm. This strategy is simple and allows a lot of flexibility and maximises the amount of solar being generated to go into the car or the pool pump with any additional load or draw going to or from the grid. I played with the amps but found I ended up not working for us
  6. aegidius

    aegidius Member

    Aug 27, 2018
    Do make sure the pool pump is one of the more modern variable speed ones. I replaced an old power hungry one a few years back, the new one throttles down to 500-600W usage after 5 minutes of fast running to get it going. You can also wire it into Tariff 31 off-peak power if you like and run it at night (as long as any timer it needs can be run on full-time power) but this makes it hard to select solar input for it.

    I'm still on the old FIT so I don't ever charge during the day, and with only 3kW of solar I probably won't get much benefit anyway.

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