Hybrid Cars

New LA Apartments Announce Nation’s First Free EV Charging

by Jeff Cobb March 7, 2014

Developers of an upscale Los Angeles apartment renovation project have announced their environmentally friendly community in-the-making is the nation’s first to “pay for on-site electric car charging.”

Called The Elysian, the 96-unit, eight-story project is a thorough revamping by Linear City of the formerly vacant Metropolitan Water District (MWD) building and 20 level 2 chargers are installed with room for 76 more charging stations.

Tenants must pay for the parking spots which range from $100 per month for outdoor, to $150 per month for indoor, but regardless whether they park a Hummer or a Tesla Model S, electricity for plug-in cars is no extra charge.

“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.”


The units range from 600 square feet to over 1,700 square feet, and pricing is from $1,500 per month to $6,500 per month.

According to a write-up by la.curbed, the units are themselves “expensive,” but the developers said the pricing is fair.

“This is rental project and the pricing is in line with projects of this scale and quality,” said a reply to our inquiry by Plug In America’s Zan Dubin Scott who passed along this answer from the developers.

It does appear those who opt for the higher-end units up to the 14 two-story penthouse suites boasting 20-foot-high windows will live well in the energy efficient building devoted to urban sustainability.

High-line amenities even for the efficiency-sized units include “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 project represents a through upgrade to a building vacated by the MWD in 1993 and formerly owned by a church group that did not follow through on plans.

Architect William L. Pereira designed the MWD complex housing the office tower, and it was completed in 1973.

Architect's rendering.

Architect’s rendering.

Linear City, Working with architect David Lawrence Gray, preserved much of the unoccupied building’s “iconic” architecture “while adding the latest technological innovations.”

Proximal to the dwellings too are an on-site EV car-sharing program. It has four EVs according to the developers’ Web site, and is aimed at optimizing quality of life in the city.

“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 partner. “By providing easy EV charging and cost efficient ride-share alternatives, we hope to change the way people think about urban living.”


A usual impediment to buying an EV or even a plug-in hybrid has been lack of infrastructure – both publicly and at rental properties.

Run-ins with landlords have been reported, and the paradox of government planners that want to incentivize plug-in cars yet haven’t filled in all the missing pieces to make it work has been infrequently reported.

“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,” said a statement by Plug In America. “Linear City is working to topple those barriers.”

Presently, those who merely want 120-volt outlets to plug in a Chevy Volt, Prius PHEV, Ford Energi or other plug-in hybrid will not have this option, but this the developers are open to discuss, and they’re prepared to expand to meet capacity with level 2 chargers as demand dictates.

“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.”

The eight-story tower is located at 1115 Sunset Boulevard just north of downtown L.A. in Victor Heights. More info may be found at The Elysian’s Web site.


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