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Why EV Equity is Important

Date Created:
Jun 9, 2022
Date Last Updated:
One major barrier to entry is about to fall now that EVs are cost comparative to gas vehicles but the other major barrier to entry, access to affordable charging remains for a large number of individuals. While most assume a large national public charging network is what’s needed, in actuality what we need even more is affordable charging at homes. 

With the recent announcement that the 2023 Chevy Bolt will now start as a sub-$30k vehicle ($26.5k to be exact) one of the biggest barriers to entry for EV ownership is being removed. For years there has been two consistent drawbacks for the average American when purchasing an electric vehicle, and now one of them, price, is slowly being removed with the Bolt now at cost parity with the Honda Accord and only $4k more than a Civic. 

The other major barrier to entry, access to affordable charging however remains for a large number of individuals. While most assume a large national public charging network is what’s needed, in actuality what we need even more is affordable charging at homes. 

Charging Stations Are Not Gas Stations

Something that’s often misunderstood about EVs is that they are very different from gas-powered vehicles. While the look they same and perform a similar function they could not be more different. In fact, EVs are more closely related to your smartphone then they are a traditional gas-powered vehicle. Its when we starting looking at EVs as giant smartphones with wheels that we can begin to understand why we desperately need charging at home rather than a massive public charging network. 

The reasoning is simple. When it comes to your smartphone, no matter what percentage charge its at by the end of the day we typically plug it in overnight when we are done with it and awake to a fully charged battery. We don’t wait until the battery is near zero then frantically try to find a place to charge it. While this does happen from time to time, the preferred solution is charging at home and EVs are no different.

So while a pubic charging network is important for the continued growth of the industry the missing piece really is access to charging at home. 

Not all Buildings Are Equal

Unfortunately when it comes to bringing charging stations into homes, offices, and apartments each situation is unique. This is down to the fact that in most multi-tenent facilities like apartments and offices the parking structures were never designed to power anything larger than a few lightbulbs. This makes bringing something like a Level 2 charging station fairly difficult and expensive to install as most buildings will only have a limited amount of power available if any at all, requiring the building to upgrade its existing infrastructure. 

New construction doesn’t face this issue as adding the required infrastructure for charging is as simple as adding a line item to the existing budget. Depending on the building this can be an easy add on expense or something that makes the margins a little less desirable for the building owner and that's where some of the trouble begins to creep in.

Unlike a single family home, apartments must balance the needs of the EV driver, the community and the building owner as in these situations power is a shared resource. The EV driver needs reliable access to affordable charging, the community needs to ensure that access is available to everyone, and the building owner needs to bill EV drivers for the power they used while making some return on their investment which gets more difficult the more they have to invest to add those stations in the first place. Its because of these competing factors that have made charging inaccessible to the vast majority of Americans living in apartments, until now.

Apartment Charging Solved

Orange started out with a simple mission, to make EV charging affordable, accessible and equitable for everyone regardless of their living situation. We wanted to design a product that can be installed installed en masse for the lowest possible cost while still allowing renters the ability to charge at home for an affordable rate. This meant not only designing a product for brand new luxury buildings but one that could easily fit into older more affordable housing complexes.

With the NEMA 520 and NEMA 620 plugs we have done exactly that. These products not only cover all drivers daily charging needs, but are installed for roughly 60% less than traditional charging solutions and can fit into even the most power strapped scenarios. Instead of focusing on building the biggest, fastest charger possible, we decided to focus purely on drivers daily needs. Wanting to ensure that we could easily replace the daily miles driven (Americans on average only drive 30-45 miles per day) we decided to go in another direction and installed lower powered solutions to cover those needs. The NEMA 520 can add between 45-60 miles of range overnight and the NEMA 620 can added between 120-180 miles of range overnight. Both solutions cover drivers daily needs, track the power they use, bill them accordingly and reimburse the property for that power used. This while also being able to add twice the number of stations for more than half the cost giving building owners a payback period of less than 5 years.

Orange set out with a simple goal to make EV charging affordable, accessible and equitable for everyone and today we believe that we have achieved that goal.