(Bloomberg) -- Renewable energy startup Span.IO Inc. wants to give consumers more control over how their cars and homes are powered.
Founded in 2018, Span is best known for its smart electrical panel, which allows homeowners to use an app to monitor power consumption and optimize it by adjusting and prioritizing their electrical circuits.
The San Francisco-based company has just raised $90 million in funding, which will go in part toward continuing to build products that rest upon that technology. The company announced its first foray outside of the electrical panel market last October with Span Drive, a $500 electrical vehicle charger that connects to the company’s $3,500 electrical panel to allow people to customize the energy source that’s charging their car.
The Span Drive serves as an entry into the electrical vehicle charging market that has rapidly grown as a result of increasing consumer demand and government regulations. Arch Rao, founder and chief executive officer, said electrical vehicles will increasingly be the first point of entry for consumers shifting toward renewable energy. They are more accessible than solar panels, which aren’t suitable for all houses, and are an appealing investment particularly amid rising gas prices, said Rao, who was previously the product head for Tesla Energy.
But charging electrical cars efficiently at home can require upgrades to residential electrical systems -- which is where Span’s smart panel and charger aim to step in.
“Customers are either having to be limited at how fast they can charge their car or spend thousands of dollars in upgrading their services,” Rao said in an interview. “I think that’s the core product functionality that’s differentiated for us.”
Rao said the company will invest more in research and development for products to service multifamily residential homes, in addition to single-family homes. Span will also be announcing a new set of products early next year outside of both the electrical vehicle and panel spaces.
“We’ve seen over the last 15, 20 years, the relevant role that solar has played in the industry and now subsequently electric vehicles,” Rao said. “We think the next most important thing is for us to electrify all of our homes. That’s our North Star.”
The most recent investment round, led by Fifth Wall Climate Tech and Wellington Management Group, brings the company’s total funding to $134 million. Greg Smithies, a managing partner at Fifth Wall, said Span’s smart electrical panels have already created the “brains and infrastructure” for faster car charging.
Smithies said the ability to prioritize which areas of a house require the most power at various times will become increasingly useful as consumers replace fossil fuels with electricity in powering cars and home appliances, like stoves.
“We as a country and frankly, as the world, need to shift to electrifying everything,” Smithies said. “Having intelligent panels in the houses potentially decreases the total amounts of billions of dollars of investments you need to put into the grid.”
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