As any EV owner will tell you, trying to find an electric car charging spot in a downtown parking garage can be a massive challenge, even if you’ve successfully found the parking garage where you know charging is available.
But for EV owners in Southern California, that’s not a problem courtesy of the recently-opened Structure 6 Parking Garage, which comes with not one or two, but thirty level 2 charging stations as part of its EV-only parking area.
Opened at the end of December last year and located at 1443, 2nd Street in Santa Monica, the parking garage can accommodate 744 cars as well as a large number of motorcycles. It replaces a much smaller, 400-car garage and has been designed from the ground up to be visually appealing and green, as well as functional.
Atop the eight-story structure there are supposedly great views of some of Santa Monica’s best beaches along with a roof-full of solar panels which we presume helps offset some of the carbon produced by the cars within — and of course to help provide clean, green renewable energy to the thirty charging stations inside.
Unlike many parking garages we’ve visited (Westfield Mall, White City, we’re looking at you!) where plug-in charging stations have been hidden away in a hard-to-find corner or are poorly signed, Structure 6’s charging stations are spread out across the floors, with every floor offering unmetered, RFID-card-free access to charging for EV owners.
Film director Kelley Richard Olsen — currently working on My Lunch With Obama, a documentary film chronicling EV advocate Paul Scott’s attempt to speak with President Obama — has visited Structure 6 and tells us the charging stations are a welcome addition to Santa Monica’s exiting comprehensive charging provision.
“I’m a former City Councilman here in Santa Monica and in the early 90’s as a Councilmember,” said Olsen. “I initiated Santa Monica’s Alternative Fueled Vehicle Policy which bans the city from buying a gas or diesel fueled vehicle if an alternative fueled vehicle is available.”
“The city currently has 55 Level 2 chargers spread throughout the city in places such as parking structures, the pier, airport and parks which all are all free to the public,” he continued. While that number does’t include a large number of privately-operated charging stations in the 8.3 square miles of the city limits, Olsen says there will soon be around 90 EV charging stations within Santa Monica, many of which are completely free to use.
“Now on average we have about 8 chargers per every square mile and that number will shoot up to over 11 per square mile. I suspect that we will for certain have the highest ratio per square mile and per population of any city in the U.S,” he said. “The importance of these chargers cannot be over stated.”
We’d like to congratulate Santa Monica for its forward-thinking garage, and hope that if you’re in the area you’ll drop by and give it a go some time soon.
But it’s also got us thinking: which garages and parking lots would you nominate as being EV friendly? Santa Monica has a large number of free chargers per square mile, but where’s the most EV-friendly parking lot in the world?
Leave your nominations, and photos of said locations, in the Comments below, and we’ll produce a top-ten list in a few weeks’ time!
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.