Electric Cars Gain Traction

Electric cars can now recharge at select hotels

Hotels around the country have, in anticipation of the coming electric car revolution, begun installing charging stations for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Last March, the 294-room Charles Hotel in Cam­bridge, Mass., installed one such station in its parking facility. For now, it is tapped about five times a month, according to general manager Alex Attia, and is free to anyone using the garage. "It will stay free until the garage is full of electric cars, at which point it will become too expensive," says Attia. "But we don't expect that to happen for some time."

Another Massachusetts hotel, the Element Lexington, installed a ChargePoint Charging Station, administered by Campbell, Calif.-based  Coulomb Technologies, last July. The 123-room property is one of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' new "eco-chic" brand.

Coulomb runs 68 public stations across the United States; the company's website offers a Google Map giving their locations (sub.mychargepoint.net/index.php/device/devicelocation.html).

ChargePoint Stations also are being installed at all six other Element hotels currently open, in Ewing, N.J.; Hanover, Md.; Houston; Irving, Texas; Las Vegas; and Lone Tree, Colo.

At ChargePoint stations, charging typically takes three and a half to four hours for a full battery, at a cost of $3 per session (subscription plans also are available). The fee can be paid by credit card over the telephone, using a toll-free number posted at each station.