Most EV owners choose to install a Level 2 charging station at their homes, and for most, it’s a reasonably priced and hassle-free process. However, a substantial number, particular those living in older buildings, will find that their electrical panel lacks the capacity to add a dedicated 240-volt circuit for EV charging, and this is when things can get messy—and expensive.
Simply splitting an existing circuit, as you would to add a 120-volt device such as a lamp or a TV, isn’t a good option—it’s unsafe, and it’s inconvenient. Fortunately, you can buy a device that will allow your charger to safely and seamlessly share a circuit with an existing 240-volt appliance such as a range or dryer.
In our September/October 2020 issue, we wrote about NeoCharge’s Smart Splitter. Another option is the simpleSwitch from B&B Technology Solutions. This is a UL-listed product that’s designed for permanent installation at any home or business. An additional feature allows owners of multi-unit dwellings to add Level 2 charging and bill it directly to tenants.
The simpleSwitch is a power management device that’s installed on an existing 240 VAC circuit of up to 50 amps. Once installed, two appliances share the circuit. One appliance (for example, a range, dryer, AC or water heater) is designated as primary, and another as secondary. The secondary appliance can be a Level 2 EV charger or just about anything else (e.g. RV hookup, welder). The maximum recommended amperage for the secondary appliance is 32 amps, and the switch itself is rated for 40 amps continuous use.
The simpleSwitch always supplies uninterrupted power to the primary appliance. The secondary appliance only receives power when the primary is not in use, or is drawing less than 150 watts. No WiFi, app or extra power is required, and the device is safe for outdoor use (the company’s web site features a video in which it gets dunked in a tank of water with no apparent ill effects).
The simpleSwitch constantly monitors electrical usage. If the demand exceeds 80% of the allowable load, the 240M will shed the added load, and limit the current draw to less than 80% of the maximum safe level. When the demand drops, the secondary load will automatically be switched back on.
The simpleSwitch comes in three configurations. The simpleSwitch 240, which goes for $549, can share power between any two 240-volt appliances. The simpleSwitch 240EV ($699) adds a 25-foot cable and a J1772 connector, making it a Level 2 charger and smart switch in one. The simpleSwitch 240M ($649) is designed for apartments, condos and duplexes—install one in each parking spot, and it allows you to bill each tenant for their individual electrical usage.
Source: B&B Technology Solutions