September 1st, 2020 by Kyle Field
With all of the positives that electric vehicles provide, they do come with their own set of challenges, many of which have nothing to do with the vehicle. One huge challenge for many electric vehicle drivers is home charging. Where will the vehicle charge? How fast will it charge? NeoCharge’s Smart Splitters make adding an EV charger to your home easier and more affordable for many homeowners and renters.
NeoCharge Smart Splitters let homeowners use a single 220 volt electrical outlet to power two devices. One version of the product uses a common electric appliance outlet to power an appliance and an electric vehicle charger while the second version allows homeowners to safely power two EV chargers from a single outlet. Both were developed to make EV charging easier and more affordable for homeowners and renters.
NeoCharge is the brainchild of two engineers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo bent on lowering the cost of installing an EV charger for homeowners. After interviewing hundreds of EV drivers, it was clear to co-founders Spencer Harrison and Akhil Veluru that the electrical work required to install Level 2 EV chargers in the home was a major financial barrier for many drivers.
Electric vehicle chargers can pull a lot of power, which can translate to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in costly electrical upgrades to the home. Spencer and Akhil set out to develop a solution and quickly honed in on developing a smart power splitter that allows homeowners to use a single 220 volt outlet to safely and intelligently power two devices. 220 volt outlets are commonly used in homes to power electric dryers, water heaters, heat pumps, stoves, or even another EV charger.
Utilizing an existing outlet to power an EV charger safely isn’t just a convenience for drivers, it translates into very real savings for many. When installing our first EV charger, the EnelX JuiceBox, we only had a single 220 volt outlet in the garage for our electric dryer. To install a new 220 volt NEMA 14-50 outlet would have cost at least $1,200 to run the new circuit and $2,000 to upgrade our 100 amp electrical panel to 200 or 250 amps.
The ability to simply purchase a $450 or $500 Smart Splitter from NeoCharge to enable the use of our EV charger with the existing dryer outlet would have been huge for us. Unfortunately, it did not exist back then, but fortunately for you, it does exist today and it just received UL approval, meaning it is completely safe to use.
The $3,200 cost estimate to add a new high power circuit to our home is not unusual. Ryan Meffert at NeoCharge said the average customer is avoiding $2,500 in infrastructure costs, with one customer saving a staggering $50,000 by purchasing the device. When an upgrade requires trenching across long distances, new electrical runs to the utility connection, concrete work, electrical panel upgrades, and new outlets, the cost of an upgrade stacks up quickly.
Intelligent Power Splitting
Their efforts bore fruit and soon, the NeoCharge Smart Splitter emerged as a viable solution to a very real problem. The Smart Splitter plugs into a single 220 volt outlet and intelligently splits power between two built-in outlets. The primary outlet on the left side of the Smart Splitter is able to pull as much power as it requires, while the secondary outlet on the right is throttled to use any additional capacity.
In the case of power sharing with an electric appliance like a dryer or heat pump, the appliance would get priority, with the EV charging ramping up when the primary appliance is not in use.
The Future is Bright
After years of rigorous testing, NeoCharge received their UL safety certification earlier this year and they are currently working with residential solar, EV charging, electricians, and utility companies. NeoCharge has won many notable awards including Caltech’s RocketFund grant, the LA Cleantech Incubators Innovators Award, and they were accepted as part of the Fall 2019 cohort at the LA Cleantech Incubator, one of the top business incubators in the world.
NeoCharge plans to expand into new product lines to continue to make driving an electric vehicle more affordable for drivers and to further their mission “To empower the people with access to clean and easy electric vehicle charging and home electrification.” NeoCharge is developing a new smartphone app that will let EV drivers charge when utility power is the cheapest, track energy consumption, and get notifications when charging is complete.
With more products and features coming soon, the future looks bright for both NeoCharge and our planet. For a limited time, use promo code CLEANTECHNICA for $30 off a NeoCharge Smart Splitter.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Send us an email: [email protected]
Latest Cleantech Talk Episode