If you've bought an electric vehicle (EV) recently or are considering one, you're not alone! Global EV sales doubled in 2021 from the previous year to a new record of 6.6 million, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) Global EV Outlook 2022 Report. Having an EV charger at your home allows you to more efficiently and quickly charge your EV while managing and monitoring your charging and energy usage. (Bonus: if you have solar, you can power your car with the sun!)
SPAN is a top manufacturer in the electrification industry, and they're rolling out a smart home EV charger that integrates with their smart panel: the SPAN Drive home EV charger. SPAN Drive is an accessory to the SPAN Panel, a reimagined smart panel that helps set up your home for electrification upgrades like solar, battery, and EV charging equipment.
SPAN Drive costs $750 but must be paired with the SPAN Panel ($4,500).
SPAN Drive is a smart home EV charger designed to connect to an electrified home system, providing various capabilities to monitor and manage your EV charging and overall home energy usage.
The SPAN Home App enables control of all SPAN products in one place, including the Panel and Drive unit.
Looking to power your EV on sunshine at home? Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare custom solar quotes.
Before diving into the SPAN Drive home EV charger specifically, it's important to know the different charging levels you can do at home and how they vary. EV chargers are also known as EVSEs, which stands for electric vehicle supply equipment.
A Level 1 charger is just using a standard outlet at your home. You just use a standard 120-volt (V) wall outlet with a J1772 connector to do this. However, this is very slow, only adding approximately 2-5 miles per hour to your range. The SPAN Drive is a Level 2 charger: the standard for home EV charging. It allows you to charge much more quickly than a Level 1 charger, providing up to 41 miles of range per hour, depending on which EV you own. Level 2 charging is done with a 240V circuit, similar to what you use to power an electric oven or dryer.
SPAN currently offers just one EV charger model, which connects to Wi-Fi, your SPAN smart panel, and a solar-plus-storage system to manage energy across your whole home. It also helps avoid electrical panel upgrades when adding clean energy solutions like EV chargers and solar, which can be costly if you have an older home.
Key features of the SPAN Drive EV charger
|Price (for the equipment)||750|
|Wiring/plug options||Wall-mounted, installed directly connected to your SPAN Panel on a standard 2-pole breaker|
|EV compatibility||Compatible with all EVs, Teslas just need an adapter|
|Charging connection||Standard J1772 connector|
|Average EV charging speed||Up to 41 miles of range per hour|
|EV charger output||Up to 11.52 kW / 48A|
|Cable length||20 feet|
|Connectivity||WiFi-enabled, over the air updates, app|
|Power capabilities||Power sharing, connectivity to an inverter/solar and battery|
|Indoor/outdoor||Indoor and outdoor (NEMA 3R rated)|
|Equipment warranty||3 years|
|Additional features||Integrates with Alexa, expert support available to help with questions, ties your EV charging to a larger home energy management system|
The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger is compatible with all EVs as long as they can charge with a J1772 charge plug, which most EVs today have other than Teslas. However, Teslas do come with a J1772 adapter, so you can still charge your Tesla with this common Level 2 charge plug.
The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger is unique because it works with the SPAN Panel, which is designed to eliminate electrical upgrades needed to add new heavy electrical loads to your home, like a heat pump. It also has customizable power levels from 6A - 48A and is versatile enough to install indoors or outdoors in most homes. The SPAN Drive charging cable is lightweight and 20 feet long, providing flexibility in where you install it – whether in your garage, carport, or parking pad. While some other EV charger cables are longer (24-25 feet), 20 feet is long enough for most setups.
If you have two EVs to charge, today, SPAN Drive supports installing a single SPAN Drive, though soon they will be enabling smart charge-sharing between multiple chargers for homeowners with more than one EV.
The SPAN Drive can connect to your home's WiFi network to provide access to manage and monitor charging via the SPAN Home app. SPAN provides free over-the-air software updates to all of its products to continuously add features over time. With SPAN Drive, updates will soon be released, adding features like managed charging via smart scheduling and the ability to charge up from your solar and battery system selectively.
The SPAN Drive comes with a 3-year equipment warranty. To be covered, you must have your SPAN Drive installed by a SPAN Authorized Installer.
The SPAN Home app
The SPAN Home app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to manage your smart home and EV charging together. SPAN is also working on additional app updates to release soon, including the ability to create a schedule to charge and easily adjust settings to charge your EV in an outage if you have a battery.
Additional SPAN Drive features
SPAN Drive is designed with electrification in mind: beyond providing EV charging, it integrates with your SPAN Panel to create a smart home ecosystem to help you manage your energy usage – including when and how fast you charge your EV. Controlling your EV charging speed with SPAN Drive can help you reduce your electricity costs and maximize your solar energy system. For example, if you're powering a lot of heavy loads at once, you might consume more electricity than your solar panels generate. By slowing down the speed of your EV charger, SPAN provides more power to other necessary devices, reducing your dependence on the grid; then, when you're running fewer devices, SPAN returns to charging at the fastest speed possible!
SPAN Drive seamlessly integrates with most solar-plus-storage systems: it can be paired with any grid-tied solar inverter and can be wired to communicate directly with solar systems that don't have battery backup.
SPAN Drive currently works with these battery storage systems:
SolarEdge Energy Bank (with SolarEdge Energy Hub Backup Interface). SPAN is compatible with up to 3 Energy Hub inverters.
Tesla Powerwall (with Backup Gateway 1, Backup Gateway 2, or Backup Switch)
At RE+ in September 2022, SPAN announced upcoming compatibility with Enphase IQ battery and other select AC-coupled storage systems.
The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger costs $750, close to the prices of other smart EV chargers. However, to use a SPAN Drive, you'll need to purchase and install the SPAN Panel, which costs $4,500. On top of the equipment costs, you'll also have added installation costs for the SPAN Drive and the Panel. SPAN must be installed by a certified installer in their network and a licensed electrician who has completed their product training.
According to Qmerit, most standard home EV charger installations cost between $799 and $1,999 (excluding the equipment itself), though if you're installing the SPAN Panel and the Drive, your installation costs may be slightly higher than with just an EV charger.
The SPAN Drive offers some innovative and energy-focused features that connect it to an integrated smart home, but you'll pay more for these features than some other home EV chargers on the market.
|Extends well beyond home EV charging by working as part of an integrated home energy management system controlled with one app||More expensive than other home EV charging options, though it does offer more features|
|Innovative product with a technology-focused platform||Currently the app doesn’t enable scheduled charging, but that is planned in an upcoming update|
|Sleek design and user-friendly app that has high reviews on app stores.|
One of the nice things about driving an EV compared to gas-powered vehicles (outside of avoiding the rising gas prices!) is that you can plug your car in overnight to charge and usually wake up to a full – or nearly complete – charge. That said, the speed of your EV charger is helpful to know and consider. The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger can provide up to 41 miles of range per hour of charge on average, with up to 11.5 kW / 48 amp output, depending on your specific EV's make and model.
Your SPAN Drive charger can charge at different speeds depending on a few factors, including:
Which power output setting you choose (from 6A to 48A)
The home charger model you select is usually based on your home's circuit breaker or service panel capacity: higher output capabilities generally mean quicker charging
Energy use: power may be limited at certain times because of other energy use in your home – limited usage equals slower charging
The specific make, model, and options of your EV: bigger batteries will take longer to charge, efficiency varies by EV, and different EVs have different onboard charging capabilities, which will impact the charging speed
The age of your EV's battery: over time, your battery will degrade slightly, and its discharge rate (battery capacity / the number of hours it takes to charge) will decrease
As with any EV charger, you'll want to get a licensed electrician to install your SPAN Drive and ensure any additional supporting electrical work is covered, such as if you need to do added wiring or upgrades to your electrical panel. While these can add to your cost, covering both the safety aspects and enabling long-term savings (compared to filling up a gas tank) will usually make driving and charging your EV at home financially beneficial.
For the warranty to be valid, you must work with a SPAN Authorized Installer to install your Drive. Adding the SPAN Drive to an existing Smart Panel is possible, or you can install both simultaneously. Integrating SPAN with a battery requires a wired communications connection to the battery system to ensure correct functionality during an outage.
If you're looking to better manage energy throughout your home and have or plan to get solar or storage as well, the SPAN Drive may be the right fit for you. There are cheaper options available, but SPAN Drive will help enable you to better monitor and manage your energy usage for EV charging. As part of the SPAN Home system, you'll be able to adjust settings and better monitor your energy consumption.
There's sometimes a misconception that home EV charging is expensive. However, it's substantially less costly in most areas than gasoline – especially if you're using solar to power your charging. Your exact comparison depends on the cost of electricity in your area and the make and model of the EV you own (since various models have different ranges).
Going solar is one of the best long-term solutions to lower your home EV charging costs. You can use the EnergySage Marketplace to compare several quotes from pre-screened installers, helping you find a system that fits your needs at the right price. If you're planning to charge an EV at home, add a note to your profile so installers can right-size your solar system to power your EV sufficiently.