• Image Credit: Zan Dubin Scott
  • Image Credit: Zan Dubin Scott
  • Image Credit: Zan Dubin Scott
Whether it's an apartment building in California or a condo complex in Florida, there's no such thing as truly free electricity. This rule applies especially to recharging plug-in vehicles, and it will become more and more of an issue as an increasing number of city-dwellers purchase plug-ins.

With the prospect of battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle drivers using common-area parking-garage outlets to charge up, Florida's Naples News sounds an alarmist tone with this article bemoaning how everyone in a condo association will have to foot the bill for such electricity use, whether they drive a plug-in or not. The author says condo association declarations should be rewritten to factor in the "electric vehicle freeloaders." The idea - which we've dealt with before - is to get plug-in vehicle drivers to either pay for the installation of electric-use meters or faster chargers themselves or be billed a monthly surcharge for estimated juice use. And, if there's a plug-in car-b-cue, the owners should be held financially responsible for the damage.

But what if there's another way? The way that the developers of the new Elysian apartment building near downtown Los Angeles are addressing the "problem." Developer Linear City is installing 20 fast charging stations in its new 96-unit building. Rent for the apartments costs between $1,500 and $6,500 a month, with a parking spot adding $100 to $150 to the cost, whether there is a charger there or not. Len Hill, a partner in the Linear City project, said in a statement that, "By making parking optional to the lease, we're broadcasting to residents that it might not make sense to even own a car." There will also be a car-sharing service located on-site. Check out Linear City Development's press release below for the fine print.
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Now Open: First Apartment Building in Nation to Pay for Tenants' On-Site Electric Car Charging

Linear City, Downtown Los Angeles Developer, Has Installed 20 EV Charge Stations in Historic Office Tower; Also Offers EV Car-Sharing at The Elysian

LOS ANGELES, Calif., Feb. March 6, 2014--Linear City Development today announced the nation's first apartment building to provide free electric vehicle charging for tenants. Seeking to boost EV adoption, Linear City has installed 20 (Level 2) EV charge stations at The Elysian, a 96-unit conversion of Los Angeles' historic Metropolitan Water District (MWD) headquarters. It will cover the cost of electricity for the life of every original EV-driving tenant's lease.

Most EVs today are driven by homeowners who can install charging stations without a landlord's permission, and public charging stations for renters are not yet ubiquitous. Linear City is working to topple those barriers.

"The lack of chargers in apartment buildings is one of the biggest obstacles to widespread electric car adoption," said Linear City partner Yuval Bar-Zemer. "If we can prove that our paradigm makes sense in the market place, then we are confident that other developers will follow suit. We want free EV charging for renters to be seen as a standard amenity."

Architect William L. Pereira, renowned for such mid-20th century landmarks as the original Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Transamerica building in San Francisco, designed the MWD complex housing the office tower, completed in 1973. Working with architect David Lawrence Gray, Linear City preserved much of the building's iconic architecture while adding the latest technological innovations including 240-volt EV charging stations. Rents in the eight-story tower, located at 1115 Sunset Boulevard just north of downtown L.A. in Victor Heights, will range from $1,500 to $6,500. Parking spaces, offered as an option, will cost an additional $100-$150.00 each per month. An on-site EV car-sharing program will also be available.

"By making parking optional to the lease, we're broadcasting to residents that it might not make sense to even own a car," said Len Hill, Bar-Zemer's Linear City partner. "By providing easy EV charging and cost efficient ride-share alternatives, we hope to change the way people think about urban living."

Linear City operates a four-EV car-sharing program in downtown L.A.'s Arts District, where it installed L.A.'s first EV fast charger (480 volts) in a public parking lot across from its signature Toy Factory and Biscuit Company Lofts. The fast charger stands next to a suite of 10 240-volt, Level II charging stations, six more of which Linear City installed at its 7+Bridge loft project, also in the Arts District and home to the award-winning Bestia restaurant.

Other environmentally friendly upgrades at The Elysian include a solar thermal system designed to provide all of the building's hot water needs. Its floor-to-ceiling windows, all new, are double-pane with high E glass. LED lighting is used throughout the building.

Units in The Elysian range from 600 to over 1,700 square feet. All feature spectacular views of L.A., large balconies, remote controlled Mecho shades, custom Italian cabinetry by Industria Mobili Montagner SRL and top-of-the-line appliances by Bertazzoni and Bosch. The building, next to L.A.'s historic Angelino Heights historic neighborhood, includes a ground-floor restaurant space and 14 two-story penthouse suites that boast 20-foot-high windows with panoramic views. Linear City purchased the tower in late 2011.

"The building has enough electrical capacity to charge 96 cars," Bar-Zemer said. "We can and will accommodate the load and cost if every single tenant has an EV. That would be amazing."

Team Contributors' Statements:

Architect: David Lawrence Gray, FAIA, Principal, David Lawrence Gray Architects

"The Metropolitan Water District building's most notable features are its exposed columns, four on each end, east and west. The concept was to pull the columns outside of the building and make them almost appear to be freestanding architectural elements. In fact, they are the predominant gravity-bearing columns for the building. We preserved them entirely.

The exterior horizontal platforms, one on each floor, are another key feature. These functioned as balconies for some of the original building's offices. We gave each apartment unit its own balcony by removing a floor-level bulkhead but retaining an existing steel window mullion and filling it with a huge piece of glass for a 10-foot window. Visually, this opened up the building from the inside and the outside."

Interior Design: Tatum Kendrick, Creative Director, Studio Hus

"Obviously, we took our cues from the mid-20th century architecture, but we wanted to add a modern-day, eclectic feel. So the main furniture piece in the lobby is a curved, 1950s-Gio Ponti style sofa, but we custom designed the front desk to read as a monolithic, book-matched marble block, which is almost sculptural in form. For the lobby lighting we selected wall and ceiling lights by local artist Jason Koharik, which are reminiscent of 1950s French masters such as Serge Mouille. For one of the art pieces, we created a large-scale contact sheet of Julius Shulman photographs that he shot during construction of the building. It tells a story and draws you in."

Patio Design: Ilan Dei, Owner, Ilan Dei Studio

"We wanted to complement the tower's strong, minimalist architectural details and muted color palette by creating a rich, warm, and inviting atmosphere for the building's tenants through the fireplace areas, yoga deck and semi-private cabanas. We were inspired also by the rich cultural history of California's indoor/outdoor lifestyle and wanted to create a space where residents could feel like they were transported to the mountains while never leaving downtown Los Angeles."

About Linear City Development: Linear City Development LLC, is a dynamic downtown Los Angeles-based real estate developer of mixed use, urban infill communities. The company has developed over 650,000 square feet of live-work, office and retail space in five downtown L.A. Arts District buildings since its founding in 1999. Linear City's Toy Factory Lofts, Biscuit Company Lofts and Industrial Street Arts Studios projects form a new live-work community on the 1800 block of Industrial Street, in what had been a desolate corner of downtown Los Angeles.


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  • 36 Comments
      raktmn
      • 4 Months Ago
      EV/PHEV owners as a market group are statistically wealthier than average renters. They have higher credit ratings, and typically are older and more financially secure. In other words, exactly the kind of renters that top apartment and condo owners spend tons of money on advertising trying to attract and retain. Spending a bit of money to attract and retain top customers by installing EV chargers is good money well spent. As for energy costs, upscale apartment and condo complexes already spend significant amounts of money on energy for public areas. The pool and hot tub have to be heated whether every resident uses them or not. Same with squash/racketball courts, weight rooms, running machines, stair steppers, TV's. Lighting public areas, like gyms, courtyards, parking garages, outdoor lighting, Christmas lights, etc. Heating and A/C for public areas, maybe even climate controlled storage areas and parking garages in the better complexes. Actual electricity costs for charging would be trivial in this sort of facility, and well worth attracting top renters. Usually this sort of demographic information is only talked about in the context of EV haters trying to slur green cars and green car incentives. But there is no reason why that same information wouldn't be used by smart, successful business men and women to attract premium customers and provide them with premium amenities. If those folks in Naples Florida want to attract more 1980's Trans-Camaro owners than Tesla owners, they certainly are on the right path. If they are happy with their choices, good for them.
      DaveMart
      • 4 Months Ago
      Americans may be interested/horrified/jealous of planning in UK cities. Here new developments don't get permission to have as many parking spaces as apartments, never mind whether they have EV chargers or not. The assumption in much of the urban world is that car use, whether electric or not, will decrease, whether through choice or administrative pressure.
        Ryan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @DaveMart
        I would never drive a car in London, and probably many of the other cities there. London was crazy as a tourist, and I had no idea what road I was on a lot of times. The public transit worked just fine.
        DaveMart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @DaveMart
        That is why the Tesla S is not going to sell well in the UK but the i3 will do better, IMO. The S is just too big to be much fun to drive in the UK or European cities. Its Americana, and American cars don't sell well in Europe.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @DaveMart
          So how does the Model E look in the UK? The i3 will have a couple years head start on its true competitor.
        Actionable Mango
        • 4 Months Ago
        @DaveMart
        Inadequate apartment parking occurs here in the US too. It is apparent because it always results in apartment cars overflowing into public spots in neighboring streets for 2-3 adjacent blocks.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 4 Months Ago
      China figured this out long ago. America is still thinking 'OMG those things are gonna catch on fire and kill the grid!!!'
        2 wheeled menace
        • 4 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        http://designmind.frogdesign.com/blog/chinas-electric-bike-charging-cultures.html Coin operated charging boxes *everywhere*. Many businesses have free charging too. Tons of charge points at apartment buildings and special areas to do so. Keep in mind that China hasn't adopted the electric car as we have. But they don't have utility laws preventing you from selling electricity, so the availability of chargers is quite good.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          it is technologically easy to have every charger have a wifi or gsm module to do credit card transactions. The only problem is legal restrictions that only utilities are allowed to sell electricity. So there cannot be any middlemen to charge for electricity (not without changing laws as you said, unworkable). The quickest solution would be for utilities get on board with the 21st century and learn how to connect directly small payment modules. It shouldn't be too much to have your credit card number synced to your own electric account or to have a separate key fob to link to your utility account.
          BipDBo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Sounds like it's workable, but just needs some intelligent legislator to make a reasonable change to the law. No, you're right. Unworkable.
          GoodCheer
          • 4 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Well, kinda unworkable, but you'd think you could have a "parking meter" that was coin operated, that just happened to also deliver electricity while you were legally (ie., fully paid up) parked. That might be hard for overnight parking at home.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 4 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          So, basically, China's "solution" is entirely unworkable in the US.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 4 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Care to explain China's solution, since you brought it up?
      Levine Levine
      • 4 Months Ago
      Don't even consider moving into LA City; the place is a rip-off paradise. A wasteland of human garbage. A cesspool of dirty, rotten, corrupt politicians. A God forsaken human waste dump site. Landlords like Linear City gouge tenants at every opportunity, including using any ruse in the name of encouraging car-less lifestyle and reducing pollution. Not to be out done, LA has the odorous City Tax. Under the pretense of public safety, LA cops are notorious for issuing jay-walking tickets as a form of revenue enhancement for the insolvent city. In the non-public sectors the City's many pan handlers and petty criminals are always looking for a easy fast-meal ticket at your expense. The inhabitants of certain neighborhoods have the acquired the skill of 'hot wiring' a car, especially the pick-up trucks in their teen years. As they become adults these skills become their second nature, instinctive, or even part of the DNA, apparently when you learn your car has been subjected to unauthorized rental service. In the world of unauthorized car rentals, only the Masters of Modesto, California, occupy a higher hierarchy than those of LA City. LA is a filthy city- inside and out. Other than the Civic Center, which is swept weekly for PR and political expedience, the rest of LA is littered with mounts of garage in some places, much less in others. As LA is basin akin to a kitchen sink, the stinking polluted air is stagnant without a strong wind current. Populated by drunks, pot-heads, drug-addict-dealers, unemployed illegal immigrants, trailer trash, Rainbow trash, and the Jerry Springer Crowd, LA is not the post-card Hollywood Hills or the Beverly Hills sent back East as propaganda by the Southern California real estate industry.0 Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Avenue have degenerated into 'Hookers Row." In the Hollywood-Sunset nightlife the Crack-head ****** (male and female) are 'strut-tin' their stuff, leisurely smoking Cannabis for medical purposes, while loitering for the next friendly John. Instead of beer bottles and cans, one finds in the dark alley ways the discarded syringes and condoms. The pimps are always concealed in the shadow nearby, observing all transactions to enforce 'quality control,' and provide 'counseling and training' for the new young recruits they had picked up from LA's Greyhound bus station a few days earlier. LA City has become today's epicenter of Sodom and Gomorrah.
      paulwesterberg
      • 4 Months Ago
      It doesn't make sense to add meters and billing systems that cost more than the amount of electricity being used. Everyone will eventually drive a plugin vehicle anyway and such cars don't foul the air in the parking garage(which seeps into the building) so displacing fossil fuel burners is better for all tenants.
      Aaron
      • 4 Months Ago
      More info: http://linear-city.com/portfolio/the-elysian/
      Joeviocoe
      • 4 Months Ago
      Parking spaces where I live cost $150/month... and they are just outdoor carports.
      goodoldgorr
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hurry-up hydrogen to get rid of these hassles.
      SublimeKnight
      • 4 Months Ago
      I've driven my LEAF for a year now and did a little over 12,000 miles. AC/Heat always. Normal 70+ mph interstate speeds. I just figured out my electric cost for the year at around $350. That's less than $30 a month. People should be complaining about the neighbor that keeps their thermostat down 2 degree lower than them, paying the same for electricity. What about the inequality of the family of 5 that lives in the building and runs the dryer everyday instead of the single guy who does his laundry every other weekend? What?!? You use your electric oven every night? We need to come up with a surcharge for that.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        "People should be complaining about the neighbor that keeps their thermostat down 2 degree lower than them, paying the same for electricity. " Most condos and apartments are electrically sub-metered so if you use more, you pay more.
          Greg Glockner
          • 4 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          That's true for newer buildings, but I've seen some older buildings that have master utilities, and the HOA pays for everything. No incentive to be frugal.
          SublimeKnight
          • 4 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          My bad. I read the line about them all sharing the cost, whether they drive an EV or not as meaning their electricity is included in their amenities dues. My only experience in apartments / dorm living was the electricity being included in the rent.
          paulwesterberg
          • 4 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          I have friends that used to live in a unit in the middle of a big apartment building. In the winter they kept their heat off and would leach heat off of the apartments around them.
      • 4 Months Ago
      I don't see why this is so difficult. There are at least two possible solutions: 1. In Fairbanks, people need to plug in their cars at night during the winter. Apartment houses have plug-ins at each parking spot. The outlet is switched; with a switch inside each apartment. 2. Many of the commercial EV chargers (e.g. ChargePoint) are activated by credit card or key-card. The owner of the charger has an option to charge by the hour, kW, or to let it be free.
      Blueboy
      • 4 Months Ago
      This and other constant aggravations are precisely why, after a lifetime of living in cities, both downtown and the 'burbs, I retired to a community of 2,500, with three traffic lights, two of which are turned off after 9 p.m. I do not own nor am I likely to, an electric car. Until the battery systems work as they should and electric cars and their monstrously expensive batteries which have to be replaced are not cost prohibitive, I won't own an electric car. By avoiding the silliness and contention discussed in this article, I won't have to pay part of the cost of someone else's urge to be fashionably "green."
        GoodCheer
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Blueboy
        "By avoiding the silliness" And yet, here you are neck deep in the silliness... You might need to move farther away.
      Sean
      • 4 Months Ago
      So you want others to foot the bill for these people. That dosent surprise me considering all the people who do the same. But a Tesla type s if you dont want pay for charging since those have solar powered charging stations. Otherwise if pay foir it your self unless you want to contribute to other peoples gas bills
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