Span Drive

The SPAN Drive home EV charger complete review

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.

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Key takeaways


  • SPAN Drive costs $750, but must be paired with the SPAN Panel ($4,500).
  • SPAN Drive is a smart home EV charger that is designed to connect to an entire 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.

What’s in this article?

What to know about EV charging at home

Before diving into the SPAN Drive home EV charger specifically, it’s important to know the different levels of charging 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. To do this, you just use a standard 120-volt (V) wall outlet with a J1772 connector. 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.

Key things to know about the SPAN Drive home EV charger

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 on 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

 SPAN Drive
Price (for the equipment)750
Wiring/plug optionsWall-mounted, installed directly connected to your SPAN Panel on a standard 2-pole breaker
EV compatibilityCompatible with all EVs, Teslas just need an adapter
Charging connectionStandard J1772 connector
Average EV charging speedUp to 41 miles of range per hour
EV charger outputUp to 11.52 kW / 48A
Cable length20 feet
ConnectivityWiFi-enabled, over the air updates, app
Power capabilitiesPower sharing, connectivity to an inverter/solar and battery
Indoor/outdoorIndoor and outdoor (NEMA 3R rated)
Equipment warranty3 years
Additional featuresIntegrates with Alexa, expert support available to help with questions, ties your EV charging to a larger home energy management system

EV compatibility

The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger is compatible with all EVs as long as they have the capability to 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.

Convenience

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 either 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 that’s 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. 

Connectivity

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 selectively charge up from your solar and battery system.

Warranty

The SPAN Drive comes with a 3-year equipment warranty. You must have your SPAN Drive installed by a SPAN Authorized Installer to be covered.

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 set to release soon including the ability to create a schedule to charge as well as easily adjust settings to charge your EV in an outage if you have a battery.

Image source: SPAN

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. Being able to control 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 be consuming more electricity than your solar panels are generating. 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 less 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:

At RE+ (the largest energy event in North America) in September 2022, SPAN announced upcoming compatibility with Enphase IQ battery and other select AC-coupled storage systems.

How much does the SPAN Drive cost?

The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger costs $750, which is close to the prices of other smart EV chargers. However, in order 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 both the SPAN Drive and the Panel. SPAN must be installed by a certified installer in their network and licensed electrician who has successfully 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. 

Pros and cons of SPAN Drive

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.

ProsCons
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 platformCurrently 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.

SPAN Drive charging speeds

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 full – charge. That said, the speed of your EV charger is helpful to know and consider. The SPAN Drive smart home EV charger is capable of providing 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 means 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 / number of hours it takes to charge) will decrease

How to install your SPAN Drive EV charger

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 it financially beneficial to drive and charge your EV at home.

In order for the warranty to be valid, you’ll need to work with a SPAN Authorized Installer to install your Drive. It’s possible to add the SPAN Drive to an existing Smart Panel, or you can install both at the same time. If you’re integrating SPAN with a battery, it requires a wired communications connection to the battery system to ensure correct functionality during an outage.

Is a SPAN Drive home EV charger right for you?

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 right 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. 

Power your EV with solar

There’s sometimes a misconception that home EV charging is expensive. However, it’s substantially less expensive in most areas than buying 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 EV you own (since various models have different ranges). 

One of the best long-term solutions to lower your home EV charging costs is to go solar. 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, make sure to add a note to your profile so installers can right size your solar system to sufficiently power your EV.


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About Ellen Sirull

Ellen is an expert in content creation, with a specific focus in helping people learn more about clean energy, solar, and EVs. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in journalism and earned an MBA at Kennesaw State University. Outside of work, you can find her spending time with her family, friends, and dogs as well as traveling, exploring new places, trying new food, or watching Georgia football.

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