For electric vehicle detractors, one of the biggest drawbacks to electric vehicle ownership is the expense and difficulty of getting vehicle charging at apartment complexes. Often shared with images of extension cords draped out of windows, the narrative that you can’t own an EV while living in an apartment wasn’t totally wrong. As more and more EVs appeared on roads in the US, the number registered to apartments has remained stagnant. Many companies have showcased innovative solutions to mitigate the difficulties of adding EV charging but even in California, the nation's largest EV market, electric vehicle registrations at apartments are a mere 9%.
Orange started out to solve this problem by fundamentally rethinking everything about the EV charging experience from the ground up. Many of the choices we made flew directly in the face of what many other companies were and are doing. However, it's proving that these choices could be exactly what apartment communities have needed all along.
The first thing that many will notice is the Orange Outlet looks much different than the typical electric vehicle charging station. Instead of a large wall box or stand, Orange made a simple outlet. As it turns out, the great majority of EV owners who live in single-family homes leverage a simple plug as well.
We chose an outlet for a few reasons, first it takes up less space, and while it seems trivial in many apartment complexes wall space is at a premium, and having something with a small footprint alleviates that issue.
Next, it requires basically no maintenance. Unlike full-scale chargers, which typically require some kind of maintenance after 3-5 years, Orange Outlet has very few failure points and will last upwards of 1000 cycles (roughly 13.1 years). Property owners can rest assured that when they purchase an Orange Outlet it's going to last a long time.
Finally, Orange Outlets are very easy to install. Electricians' time is not only expensive but can be minimal, meaning scheduling for installation and maintenance can be time-consuming and cost prohibitive. Unlike full-scale chargers that leverage high amperage, our outlets don’t require an electrician to work on or replace them. If you’ve ever installed a 110v then you can install an Orange Outlet. This makes the ongoing management of the charging stations a breeze as site supers or handymen can easily replace them once the initial installation is complete.
Orange also pulled quite a lot of costs out of the equation by being an outlet. Not only is maintenance rarely an issue, but it also makes all costs lower. Our Orange Outlet is the lowest-cost charging solution for apartments and condos, period. Over the course of an entire community, Orange saves property owners thousands of dollars.
This is due to a few factors the first being Orange Outlets retail ($400) for significantly less (upwards of 10x in some cases) than any competitor products, while still covering the community's needs and ensuring fair energy costs to the end user. This doesn’t mean that our Outlets lack functionality though, in fact, Orange Outlets have just as many features as our competitors:
All this and Orange still manages to be on average 77% less to install and operate than traditional charging solutions, by reducing one thing, copper.
The single biggest advantage lower-power charging brings is its ability to leverage lower-gauge wiring and drastically reduce installation costs as a result. Where the majority of apartment charging solutions require 6- or 8-gauge wire, Orange Outlets can leverage 10- or 12-gauge wiring for the same job which removes the majority of the installation costs.
Something we often talk about is the delicate balance that needs to take place when installing charging at apartment communities. EV drivers need reliable, affordable access to charging, the larger community needs that access to be equal for everyone, and the property owner needs to ensure they can provide a needed amenity while being able to recoup the costs.
Until Orange, that last part consistently fell short and property owners were footing the bill for thousands of dollars in electrical upgrades to add a few stalls for EV charging. These traditional stations only temporarily satisfied the community needs before more stations were required and the property owner never had the ability to recoup any costs unless they made the energy costs exorbitant. As you can see with traditional charging the delicate balance breaks down rather quickly.
Orange was designed to give property owners a real path to profitability without gouging their residents at the same time. We did this by one) lowering installation costs (see above) and two) designing OrangeNet to allow the management of our charging stations, set kilowatt-hour expenses, and automatically bill residents for the energy they use. By doing this, Orange brings property owners an average ROI of 150%, turning what was once a long-term liability into a money-generating investment.
Orange created the perfect solution for apartment communities because everyone deserves the same great experience when owning an EV. We wanted to ensure that everyone no matter what their living situation can have affordable access to EV charging. With the Orange Outlet and OrangeNet we have done just that.