Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Image courtesy Splitvolt

Clean Transport

Save Money & Time – But Safety First (And Second And Third!)

Make sure you’ve thought of everything – or, you know, buy something from someone who has.

Mainstream consumer interest in electric cars is exploding these days. And, as more and more Americans begin to explore their electric vehicle (EV) options, they’re also exploring fast home EV charging solutions — and they’re finding that it’s the most cost-effective and convenient way to charge an EV. They’re also finding out that having a new, dedicated charging circuit installed can take weeks,  and can be very, very expensive! That’s where Splitvolt comes in.

Splitvolt is an American company backed by a team of tech experts and engineers who set out to design products that make it easy, and inexpensive for normal people to own and operate EVs. Specifically, Splitvolt offers EV charging-related solutions that meet people where they are, and offers a safe, affordable, and automatic solution that can work in their homes today — and for a lot less than they might expect.

“These days, someone buying an electric car for the first time is usually getting their home charging-related information from the dealer they’re buying the car from, or large EV charger companies who are also trying to sell them expensive, dedicated home chargers.  Both of them will point to an electrician to get a quote for a dedicated circuit without much thought about easier and less expensive ways to get power for Level 2 fast home charging,” explains  Dan Liddle, CEO of Splitvolt. “Customers are often told it’s the only option, and that they have to spend over a thousand dollars on a project that may take weeks to complete — when this is simply no longer true.”

Splitvolt offers another option, one that generally doesn’t require any additional electrical work on a customers’ home. “What we’ve done at Splitvolt is look at the typical American garage,” says Dan. “We found that, especially in mild climate areas, the majority have a clothes dryer or other appliance that already runs on a 220/240V outlet — and that’s what we’re tapping into with Splitvolt. You can use your existing circuit and share that outlet with your new EV; without the need to pay to install a new one.”

The Splitvolt Splitter Switch (TM) is a unique Electric Vehicle Household ApplianceTM that allows you to safely and automatically share power from your existing 220/240V dryer socket with your EV charger. Less than two minutes to connect: just plug in the Splitvolt device, plug in your dryer/appliance, and plug in your EV charger — and you’re done!

Splitvolt invented the only such device which is cETLus safety certified, and also has all the necessary critical safety features for a 220/240v power switching device.

SPLITVOLT MAKES IT EASY

If you think that “you just plug it in” line sounds too easy, you’re not alone. “That’s the number one comment we get when we do demonstrations,” says Dan. “People look at it, and they get it immediately. Everyone says, ‘That’s it?’ and we say, ‘That’s it!’”

Using Splitvolt really is that simple — but, of course, it takes a lot of smart people and good engineering to make something so smart and turn it into something that’s practical, simple — and safe! —  enough for everyone to be able to use.

“When a customer buys an EV, they’re told they need to pay so much. For a dedicated 220/240V charging circuit, get a contractor, with permits they have to file, and more,” Liddle explains. “But everyone who has a 240V plug in their garage already, can skip all of that by using a Splitvolt Splitter Switch.

WHAT IS IT YOU REALLY NEED

I have to admit, I am completely smitten with the Splitvolt product. When I first saw it at a live EV event in Austin last year, I saw a dryer, I saw a Tesla, and I just had to know what these guys were up to, and that’s how I met Dan Liddle.

Liddle (pronounced like “liddell,” not “little”) absolutely knows his stuff. And, thanks to his background in tech and the engineering know-how of his team, understands what it is that fast home charging circuits bring to the table, and baked all of that into the Splitvolt.

What is that? I’m glad you asked. To truly be safe, a 220/240V power switching device must have:

  • The unit must have its own internal circuit breaker.

In order to function safely, any 220/240V power sharing device needs to have its own, internal circuit breaker to protect the home’s electrical wiring and automatically ensure it stays within the safe EV charging rate according to the NEC. If there’s an issue, it trips the splitter’s internal fuse, and the issue is stopped there.

  • It must stop the EV charging rate from exceeding 24 amps on a 30 amp circuit.

This is crucial. Because EVs can charge for hours on end, the NEC says you may only charge at 80% of the circuit rating — so a maximum charge rate of 24 amps on a 30 amp circuit. On some EVs, the internal controller is smart enough to limit the car’s pull to 24 amps, but many others will try to pull the full 30 amps when they can, and that’s too much for a standard home circuit, which can cause the wiring to overheat and present some real safety concerns. 

  • It’s not safe enough to depend upon the house breaker panel.

The breaker panels in most homes don’t have a built-in safety buffer that is required by the NEC for safe EV charging. You need a 20% buffer between your max continuous EV charging rate and the rating for the circuit (including the breaker, wiring and connectors). That’s where that 24 amp number comes from (30 amps * 0.8). The same is true for a 50 amp circuit—it should not exceed (0.8 * 50 amps) 40 amps continuous EV charging rate.

  • Splitvolt automatically switches power to one socket at a time — never both simultaneously.

Using a conventional splitter, like you might on an extension cord or string of holiday lights, is fundamentally unsafe when you’re dealing with the current demands of an EV. Splitvolt looks like a simple splitter, but its built-in brain actively monitors and switches power to its outlets, so the current is either going to your dryer or your EV, never both. That prevents the circuit from accidentally being overloaded, and is much safer.

  • Real time power and status display screen.

The ability to quickly see real time information without the need to log into an app or turn on the car can be a game-changer for taking the guess work out of it, and quickly noticing if any issues arise.

  • Splitvolt offers a manual override power-off switch.

Although the internal safety breaker will automatically turn off power if the safe charging rate is exceeded, it is also important to be able to manually turn-off power to the device if desired. A manual on/off switch for quick access on the unit is also important for safety.

  • The pigtail power cord ensures correct, safe unit orientation.

A flexible pigtail power cord for connecting such a device to an existing 220/240V dryer circuit is an important safety element. The pigtail on the Splitvolt Splitter Switch allows you to safely and conveniently locate the device where it is visible, accessible and with the correct orientation. Without a pigtail power cable for orientation, in some cases such a unit could be forced to be installed upside down, which is unstable and splayed-outward”.

“We engineered the Splitvolt Splitter Switch to include all of the above critical safety features, and are the only such solution in the market with all of these elements necessary for safely and automatically sharing an existing 220/240V dryer circuit with your dryer and EV charger,” says Dan. “That way, the customer doesn’t even have to think about it.”

Splitvolt allows you to share your 220/240 outlet.

Image courtesy Splitvolt

SPLITVOLT — RATED SAFE VS. REALLY SAFE

I was pretty impressed as Dan walked me through all the unique safety features and considerations built into the Splitvolt Splitter Switch. “That’s cool,” I said, interrupting him. “So you need all that stuff to get that — I think it’s a safety rating?”

Dan takes a deep breath. “Of course we’re pleased to be able to offer products which have cETLus agency certification, but the short answer to your question is: No. 

From our perspective, much more than a safety agency rating is needed for a 220/240V power sharing device to be considered safe ….”

“What do you mean?” I asked, genuinely confused. “What else do you need to do?”

“That’s the problem,” says Dan. “This is a new product category we have innovated. An agency certification can indicate your product is ‘safe’ (he makes air quotes with his hands) from a certain perspective, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it already incorporates all aspects of new categories such as this. The agency standards will continue to evolve over time. In the meantime, we think the above features are also important for being safe, instead of ‘safe’ (air quotes).”

I take a second to process that. Can’t. “What am I supposed to do with that information?” I ask Dan. “It seems like that would be a challenge to communicate to customers.”

Dan shrugs. “There will always be companies that try to undercut your price by offering incomplete products without key features in any new market—that’s just part of life when you’ve developed something truly innovative and compelling — but consumers are smart. When they watch the videos and learn about the products, they understand our advantages and why Splitvolt is unique and the market leader. With thousands of units sold across the United States already and having earned a high rating with hundreds of verified reviews, we know our customers love the product—and they particularly appreciate the ‘no installation required’ aspect —” 

“No installation?” I ask, interrupting Dan again.

“Right, although we offer an optional wall-mounting kit that comes with each unit, using Splitvolt, there’s no installation required,” he says. “What we mean by that is all you need to do is set the Splitter Switch on a shelf or on the dryer, plug it in, and turn it on. You don’t have to wall mount it. And more importantly, you do not need to disassemble the outlet to add a mounting bracket or anything like that. We wouldn’t expect an untrained, unlicensed person to start taking apart a 240V outlet. The Splitvolt just plugs in so anyone can use it. “

“And that’s just another layer of safety,” I add. “You don’t want this high voltage cord to get suddenly pulled out of the wall because maybe you did something wrong and there’s too much weight on it.”

“Exactly,” he says. “But it’s more than that. We’ve all read the articles stating EVs are generally safer than internal combustion cars. And this, of course, seems intuitive in that a gas car with a large tank of flammable liquid would seem far more likely to catch fire than an electric one, so it’s not about that. It’s about having confidence in your vehicle, it’s about saving time, and, frankly, it’s about saving money by using an existing circuit that you already have!”

He’s right about that. Having a dedicated Level 2 charging circuit, and/or EV charger installed in your home can cost between $1500-2500, and maybe more. With the Splitvolt? You can get everything you need and get that same Level 2 functionality to charge your EV at ‘21 mph’ for under $600, in most cases — and, if someone happens to turn on the dryer when your car is charging? 

“Splitvolt automatically pauses your EV charging when the dryer is running,” he explains. “Then it resumes charging the car automatically when the dryer load is complete.”

Again, the Splitvolt Splitter Switch seems simple — but there’s a lot of smart thinking, design and problem-solving going on here. Enough, probably, to ensure that Splitvolt stays the market leader (in terms of units sold) for a long time to come.

This article is supported by Splitvolt.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Home EV fast charging is something we’ve written about countless times, but we continue to learn more about the topic. I recently interviewed the...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.