The NeoCharge Smart Splitter had perfect timing, showing up on my porch just a few hours behind the Tesla Model 3 that would be staying with us that week. What’s more, since the Tesla would be sharing garage space with the big Volvo XC90, we had the perfect opportunity to put the Smart Splitter to the test!
How does the NeoCharge Smart Splitter work and could it handle two very different plug-in cars on a single outlet? That’s what we were determined to find out.
The NeoCharge splitter ships in a cube-like, Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified-sustainable and recyclable cardboard box, and getting it out of said box will immediately bring back memories of unboxing a PowerMac G4 Cube (that’s assuming you had a PowerMac G4 Cube, but we don’t know your life). Once in your hands, the splitter is almost deceptively simple to understand.
Translation: it’s a box with an electrical plug sticking out of the back. If you’ve ever plugged anything into a wall, you already know what to do.
We did it! We unplugged the Volvo’s charger from the outlet in the far wall and replaced it with the NeoCharge Smart Splitter. Then we plugged the Volvo’s adapter back in (the Volvo comes with a 110v standard wall plug and a 240v adapter that clips onto it), leaving an open 240 outlet on the other side of the splitter “free” to plug in the Tesla.
It’s pretty straightforward.
“Sounds too easy,” you might be saying. “There’s got to be more to it than that, right?”
Well, yes and no. You can just plug the NeoCharge into the outlet and it will work, but what you should do is install the mounting bracket (you can see it in the image, above) on the outlet’s faceplate, which comes in the box. A pair of thumbscrews (also provided) goes in on either side of the NeoCharge, fixing it more securely to the wall.
The installation itself couldn’t be more straightforward— but you should resist the urge to skip the instructional video (accessible through a QR code on the box, which replaces a printed manual in a nod towards sustainability, which we at CleanTechnica love to see).
I, of course, skipped the instructional video, dismissed the mounting bracket as “unnecessary,” and quickly plugged everything in. Within seconds, both the smart splitter and the charging cables were on the ground.
This is entirely on me, of course. The 220v (NEMA 14) plugs and cables are heavy, and that weight— combined with some less-than-graceful yanking and shuffling of the charge coupler on the Volvo side— was enough to yank the NeoCharge out of the wall.
Lesson learned: there are no spare parts.
I take a step back, RTFM, and follow the directions. Everything works perfectly.
Follow the Instructions
Look, there is really no excuse here for not following the directions. We spent more time looking for a screwdriver than we did actually correctly installing the wall bracket, and we absolutely should know better than to yank on a high-output plug while the dryer/oven/electric car is plugged into it.
That said, it’s obvious that the NeoCharge Smart Splitter was engineered to handle people like us who yank on high-voltage cables with wanton disregard for their own safety. Safety, in fact, is built into the NeoCharge— literally! They use an internal software breaker to protect your home and EV, and it’s good enough to earn them a UL safety certification.
That’s a big deal, because (as this is being written) the NeoCharge is the only UL safety certified splitter on the market.
Will other smart chargers, you kind of have to take their word on safety.
It Just Works
Using the NeoCharge couldn’t be simpler. To steal a line from Apple (since it looks very “Apple-ish” to me), “it just works.”
You can charge two cars. You can think about the process, choose to prioritize one EV over another (simple enough— the primary “left” outlet takes priority over the secondary “right” outlet), so if you or your spouse know you’ll need more range the next day, you can charge that car to full then have the NeoCharge automagically start charging the other car.
Follow the same process with an appliance or power tool— dryer in the left outlet, EV on the right— and the NeoCharge will intelligently direct power to the primary device whenever it’s needed. The EV on the right will “pause” its charging session automatically and restart again when the left side is finished.
Our dryer is in the basement, so it was even simpler for us. Volvo on the left (wife has to work) and Tesla on the right (it was a loanerr and wouldn’t see much driving duty). The Volvo T8’s battery is relatively small, at just 11.6 kWh, and the NeoCharge had both vehicles up to a full charge by morning.
If you prefer to be more involved, you’ll soon be able to use the NeoCharge app to do all kinds of clever things with their smart splitter. You can re-prioritize on the fly, monitor power use, set your car to only charge during off-peak hours, etc. And— as ever— safety is a priority. If the power drawn by the EVs or appliances plugged into the NeoCharge ever exceeds what your outlets can handle, a built-in safety system will cut power to your devices.
At $499, the NeoCharge Smart Splitter seemed a bit pricey, at first, but a quick look at something like the Clipper Creek HCS-D40 Dual Charging Station (which starts at $1484 and requires professional installation) dispelled that notion almost immediately.
NeoCharge’s own website illustrates those savings nicely, in fact, and compares the Smart Splitter to a few other popular EV charging options.
Charging with a regular 120V outlet is often too slow for most EV drivers. And depending on how and when your house was built, usually there is a 240V outlet that’s been installed in or near the garage. The cost savings comes from being able to utilize your existing outlet and not need to get the expensive installations to install another 240V outlet or need to upgrade your service panel. 120V = 3-4mph; 240V = 30mph of charge. For our purposes – and, we suspect, many of our readers’ – the NeoCharge gets the job done with minimal fuss, and minimal involvement. You just pull into your garage, plug in your car, and go on about your day.
Just, you know … follow the directions.
Smart Splitter Specifications:
- Output power: 24A/5.7kW—40A/9.6kW
- Voltage: 240 VAC nominal, single phase
- Input: NEMA 14-50P NEMA 14-30P, or NEMA 10-30P
- Outputs: 2 x NEMA 14-30R, NEMA 10-30R, or NEMA 14-50R
- Dimensions: 5.25″ x 5.25″ x 2.8″
- Weight: 2.5 lbs
- Warranty: 2 years
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