• Apr 15th 2011 at 6:04PM
  • 7
Nowhere in the picture above do we see an easy place to charge an electric car, do we? The challenge of powering up plug-in vehicle in a densely populated urban environment is something that has been an issue in the EV scene for a while (and something we've covered a lot in the past), and it is most certainly a worthwhile topic for our Countdown to Earth Day series for new readers.

See, the big benefit of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars is that you charge them up overnight and then never (or rarely) visit a gas station. Of course, this is only possible if you actually have a place to park each evening with a plug. If you're always battling for some random parking spot on a street anywhere within a 10-minute walk of your apartment, then an electric car might not make a lot of sense. But EVs are also great city cars, where their 100-mile (average) range isn't usually a big deal because you're probably not going that far on any given day. So, what can you do?

Well, the best solution is probably to talk to your landlord of the city about possibly getting a plug installed either at your apartment's parking lot or on a nearby street. You may suffer from someone stealing your spot sometimes, but at least this way you can get your electrons while you sleep. Other options include: seeing if it's possible to recharge at work, opt for a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt (which can run on gas when the battery is depleted) or, maybe, to move. We've got more details in this Greenlings post.

[Image: Ray_from_LA – C.C. License 2.0]

Note: To mark the 41st anniversary of Earth Day* this year on April 22nd, we're running a series called Countdown to Earth Day that we want to be very welcoming to new readers, both in topic and tone. We'll be returning to our Greenlings series for inspiration here, and if you have friends who you'd like to introduce to AutoblogGreen, perhaps these posts and the coming "holiday" will provide the final push to get their green car interest up.

*Ironically, the apparent traditional gift for a 41st anniversary is land. Since land - earth - is something we can't easily create, perhaps this Earth Day we can give ourselves the gift of stewardship of the land.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      If 10 people seem to have electric cars in you apartment, you could also look at requesting the management to install a fast charger, with some parking spots (4 or 5).

      Solves the problem, adds new facility to the neighborhood and you get to be on the road within an hour.
      • 8 Months Ago
      More and more cities are now adding EV provisions into multi-family requirements. However that does nothing to address the issue with the hundreds of thousands of existing apartment complexes. When I stay at a friends apartment, I have a 150 foot 12 gauge 220V extension cord I plug into the dryer outlet, and run out the window and down to the parking garage. I have to take it back in every day because I got complaints about it hanging out the window. If I was living there, I would consider talking with the HOA about installing a charge station (they actually have a decomissioned car was spot that would be perfect) but probably I would have to foot the bill to install it. Although in the Seattle area, they might qualify for a free charger.

      • 8 Months Ago
      So no real answer to this one.......
      • 8 Months Ago
      If you're always battling for some random parking spot on a street, maybe you're better off using a car-sharing program.

      In Japan, you have to prove you have a parking spot before you can buy a car. And getting a parking ticket takes a point off your license, like a speeding ticket (so, getting 15 parking tickets in a year means your license is suspended).
      • 8 Months Ago
      I live in an apartment block in Sydney Australia where the electricity meters are in a room in the basement near the garage. I have just spent the last 18 months getting a 'By Law' (Rules of the Apartment block) approved so I can install an EVSE to charge a plug-in vehicle. Last week I was given approval under the new by-law to start the installation.
      To get the EVSE approved I have agreed to install a separate meter for the service to the garage, It's restricted to 240V and 32 Amps and is subject to future changes to the by law. So the process hasn't been easy, and the installation looks like costing me circa Aus$3,500 which is not cheap. Then it looks like another 18 months before any plug-in vehicle I am interested will be available.
      So the process is not easy or cheap but nor is it impossible if you are looking to put the time in with your Apartment Administrators.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I was in Monaco last month, and had a chance to test drive the Tesla... Monaco is gets it. All the parking garages in the city have to have a certain percentage of parking/charging facilities available at no charge... and they have already installed 2 fast charge stations in the city (again no cost to charge) ... they realize how much damage the exhaust is doing to the old buildings, and how much that costs them in upkeep and repairs.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "They realize how much damage the exhaust is doing to the old buildings, and how much that costs them in upkeep and repairs."

        Good point.
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