The Orange Outlet was designed to solve all the major pain points that come with EV charging in apartments. The fact remains that in these communities it's still hard to find a perfect solution to fits everyone's needs, the biggest of which is reliable access to energy. EV drivers need to know that no matter the time they come home, there will always be a location to plug in for them.
Many charging providers, big and small, have attacked this problem with varying degrees of success, however, even the most successful providers have barely tapped into the ever-expanding marketing of multi-family housing. This is due in large part to the fact that these solutions are fairly expensive to install and typically require maintenance after only a few years.
Orange wanted to solve both these problems and allow for a more equitable charging experience by replicating what many single-family homes do when looking at charging solutions. Instead of buying high-priced charging stations, bloated with features they’ll never use, most opt for simple outlets instead. After all most EVs, today come with mobile charging adapters, and EV drivers should keep a universal charging cable in their vehicle for any kind of charging emergency.
By understanding this, Orange redesigned the charging solution for apartments from the ground up. Rather than building yet another high-powered Level 2 charging station, we opted for a lower-powered 240V outlet. This allowed us to cut out much of the costs associated with installing Level 2 stations, driving the costs down to their lowest possible point while still delivering enough energy to cover their daily driving needs. We realized that instead of treating EVs similarly to gas power vehicles, where we wait until it's close to empty before we fill them back up, we should treat them more like our smartphones. Where regardless of the state of charge we should plug them in at the end of each day a wake up with a full tank in the morning.
This also aligns with automakers’ recommendation to prolong battery life: “The most important way to preserve the high voltage Battery is to LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE PLUGGED IN when you are not using it.”
However, another important opportunity arose from this new direction of nightly charging, and that was durability.
Common household outlets are not rated for that many cycles ie. plugging in and unplugging. There simply isn't that high of a need as commonly once something is plugged in it stays that way for a very long time or it's not used regularly enough. Even heavy-duty outlets used in office spaces do not have that long of a lifecycle, only lasting a few thousand cycles at best before the connectors start to drop below the desired design range of forces.
Orange wanted to ensure that our outlets last for the long haul and can take plenty of abuse along the way. That's why each outlet is rated to last over 10,000 cycles and if it's cycled every single day it’ll last roughly 13 years before we might recommend a replacement. To put that in perspective, most Level 2 stations (even ones designed for public use and thus higher abuse) typically require significant maintenance or outright replacement after only 3 or 4 years. This should not come as a surprise after the many, many articles detailing broken public charging infrastructure.
Furthermore, we knew that our stations would be hooked up to heavy mobile adapters and would need sufficient clamp strength to ensure that they’ll not only hold them, but be able to do so for the entire 10,000 cycle journey. After rigorous testing our outlets have proven to hold nearly 13lbs of campling force after 10,000 cycles.
We set out to give our customers the best possible experience, by ensuring that they’ll not only save roughly 70% on install costs but also give them the peace of mind that the Orange Outlet is the only charging solution that they’ll ever need. Once installed they don’t need to worry about Orange Outlets ever.
The other reason to build our outlets to such a high durability and usability standard is to keep EV charging affordable. We want to provide everyone with the ability to affordably charge their EV at home regardless of where they live and ensuring that over the next decade, they never have to worry about fixing their charging station is key.
Often what happens when a community chooses a different solution is over the course of 3 or 4 years they end up needing a significant amount of maintenance to keep the charger running. Often the charging cable needs to be replaced, which on the surface seems simple enough, but it can cost anywhere from $300-$1000 dollars and can take weeks to get a certified electrician to come out and fix it. While the building might be able to go weeks without an active charger the EV driver will find this a hard pill to swallow. By removing the charging cable we removed this failure point completely and replacing a mobile adapter will cost ~$200 and take a day to ship out.
Further, if a building is using a standard NEMA plug or even a smart outlet, they are not rated to last nearly as long as an Orange Outlet. Even by doubling the lifespan of a standard NEMA plug it will only last a handful of years before it'll need to be replaced entirely, forcing the property owners to once again pay more money for something that should just work.
Orange Outlets were designed to last and carry very little if any, maintenance costs. We wanted our customers to not even think about their chargers because no matter how much they use them, they just work. Additionally, we believe that property owners shouldn’t have to constantly invest in keeping their charging stations working, making the Orange Outlet ideal for both drivers and property owners.