Bringing right-sized EV charging to multifamily homes

Nicholas Johnson
May 14, 2024

Two years ago, we started Orange to solve a fundamental problem: make EV charging affordable and accessible to all, no matter where they live. EV adoption is accelerating, and it’s putting pressure on our grid:

  • By 2040, 20x more EVs are expected on the road.1
  • The electricity needed to power these EVs is expected to be 1850% more than today — that’s about the total electricity generated in the state of Texas today.1

The pace of EV adoption is pushing us to rethink energy management and our downstream infrastructure. However, the first step is to rethink how we charge electric vehicles.

Singlefamily vs. multifamily experience

If you live in a single-family home and own an EV, your charging experience is friction-free. However, suppose you belong to the 40% of Americans who live in multifamily apartments and townhouses. In that case, your EV charging experience is full of friction: 

  • Apartments have too few chargers for the number of EV drivers.
  • Wait for a resident to finish charging their EV so you can charge. 
  • Interrupt dinner or sleep to move your EV so another resident can charge it. 
  • Be slapped with an idle fee by your property if you don’t move your EV.

Challenges for property owners

Property owners or property managers of apartment complexes don’t have it easy either. New building codes require property owners to offer EV charging capabilities to their residents, but the current solutions are: 

  • High capital cost: It can cost up to $7k to install one charger 
  • Poor energy efficiency: Standard chargers are inefficient for a building’s panel capacity
  • Network infrastructure: Most chargers rely on cell signal and WiFi to start and stop charge sessions, adding additional infrastructure cost
  • Monthly fee: Most chargers charge drivers a monthly fixed fee regardless of use 
  • High maintenance: Most chargers break and require regular maintenance, adding to the maintenance cost

Re-engineering EV charging for multifamily homes

At Orange, we completely engineered EV charging to be reliable, affordable, and easily scalable for multifamily properties and commercial office buildings. More importantly, we designed Orange chargers to match the behavior of EV owners. The average American drives 40 miles a day2 and they want to charge their vehicles at home like they do their phones: plug it in when they get home so it is fully charged when they drive to work the following day. To make this a reality, we did four things: 

  • Smart Outlets: Orange Level 1 (120V) and Level 2 (240V) smart outlets with integrated energy meters to track individual charging sessions. These outlets are affordable and scalable, so property owners can add more outlets for the same panel capacity without increasing their capital investment. We also have the Orange EVSE in 40 amp, 60 amp, and 80 amp for adding a lot of miles quickly.
  • Usage-based pricing: Residents download the Orange app to start or schedule their charge session. We only charge residents when they charge their EVs. There is no monthly fee. 
  • OrangeOS: Hardware is just one piece of the puzzle. We built OrangeOS to help property owners track and manage outlets and their energy consumption across all their properties.
  • OrangeNet: Each Orange device communicates with other devices, creating a mesh network that allows residents who park at sub-basement levels to charge without a WiFi or Cell Phone signal. 

With over 2000 Orange outlets installed at properties like Greystar, Avalon Bay, and Sares Regis, we are just getting started. We are very grateful for our investors, who believe in our vision and are committed to an energy future that is both sustainable and scalable. Our latest funding round of $6.5 Million, led by Munich Re Ventures and Climactic with participation from Baukunst, Lincoln Properties Ventures, Crow Holdings, and Space Cadet Ventures, will help us scale our product and build out our GTM engine. If solving problems at the intersection of energy and transportation is exciting to you, we have a number of open roles - come join us and help transform the energy landscape! 


1 EV charging growth report by PWC


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