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Experience looking for an apartment with charging in Seattle area

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by TeslaSinHR, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. TeslaSinHR

    TeslaSinHR Member

    May 27, 2013
    Bellevue, WA
    Recently made a temporary move to the Seattle area. Prior to that I owned a house and I had a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed so daily charging was never a problem.

    My move was going to be into an apartment and I naturally wanted one with secure parking, a reserved spot for my car with an AC outlet right there so I could continue living my convenient electric lifestyle. Ugh - what a rude awakening. Of the first 4 or so apartments I looked at, 3 didn't even have AC outlets anywhere in the garage and the 4th one wouldn't let me use one to charge my car. In all the cases, I wasn't the first person to ask about EV charging - so those leasing offices know potential renters want them.

    When weighing the pros/cons or each apartment, I listed where the closest public charging station would be and the cost. So rather than plugging in every night when I got home and leaving every morning with a "full tank", I figured that every few days I would leave my car at a public charging station for several hours and then move it back to the apartment garage when it was done. This wasn't terrible as there were usually charging stations within 0.5 miles. Turns out Kirkland has a lot of free public stations but Bellevue and Seattle are mostly pay stations. And I really hated paying $1/hr or more for crappy low-amp, level 2 charging. If you work someplace that offers EV charging, that helps a lot too.

    I found 2 apartments that had charging stations in their parking garage (Harbor Steps in downtown Seattle, and Park Metro in Bellevue) but I would still involve moving my car and I would have to pay $1/hr. At least it would be in the secured parking garage so I wouldn't have to walk far in bad weather.

    Finally, I found Avalon Towers in Bellevue. Great location, great views, pretty good apartment and each level of the parking garage has several spots reserved for low-E vehicles AND each of those spots has its own 120v AC outlet. I was able to get a reserved parking spot with the ability to charge insitu. A 120v outlet isn't great but I usually gain more miles each night than I drive - charging is usually at 4 mi/hr. I am paying the same parking rate as all the ICE vehicles but I'm not paying extra for the electricity. Not sure how long that will last. But even if they start metering it and charge normal electric rates, I'd be fine with that. I think I'm the only Tesla there but I see several Leafs parked and plugged in.

    So yeah, not everyone that wants an EV has the ability to charge at their residence - especially apartments (rental or condo).
  2. David99

    David99 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2014
    Brea, Orange County
    I got my S and the apartment I live in didn't want to install anything. I even said I'd pay for the whole installation and the local utility company supporting EV charging with special rates. The owner just couldn't be bothered. I found many public chargers in the areas I drive for work and even very close to where I live so it works. With my average driving I can easily do 3 days without charging at all so it works.
    I also found some other apartments that offer charging stations but same as the example you wrote about, they are pay stations and you have to move your car. Totally impractical and honestly a rip-off. I would never go with that. It's really annoying to see how some people think. They see you have a need and the first thing they can think of is how they can make money off me.

    I hope in the years to come laws are passed that make apartment buildings EV friendly. Just like every unit has it's dedicated power meter there is no reason why parking spots in the same building can't have 240 Volt outlets hooked up to the meter of the assigned unit.

    I'm moving this year so it's just a temporary situation for me.
  3. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

    Oct 4, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    If you're living in bellevue check plugshare I believe there's a NEMA 14-50 or at least there was that I used once in Kirkland that was free (not to far from where you're apartment is) in case you need the extra oomph on some of those days the 110 doesn't cut it.

    Im in actually sort of shocked myself at how "green" seattleites say they are and then when you are looking for charging places like you were they are few and far between and then when you DO find them they are in the more upscale apartments or condos and they aren't NEMAS they are slow chargers more for a leaf than anything else. (Ok stepping off soapbox now) seriously though I'm glad you were able to find something that will work for you and welcome to the rainy city!

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