Man still without a way to charge electric car at home

June 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Bay Area man purchased an electric car, but his landlord will not let him plug it in to charge up.

A landlord doesn't have to provide a way to charge your car, but the good news is public agencies are slowly building plug-in stations around the state. However, it's not like a gas station where you fill up and go. This takes hours.

Richard Weisner spends a lot of time doing business inside his new car because he has to wait for it to charge. "Today, I sat in my car for almost two and a half hours and I was able to charge my car about 60 percent," he said.

Weisner spends about 12 hours a week doing business in his car at the free electric car plug-in station at Crissy Field. This is one of the only ways he can charge his new Chevy Volt. "I love the view from here, but still, sitting and charging your car for four and a half hours is very inconvenient. It would be much more convenient if I could do this in the building in which I live, in which I pay rent," he said.

However, his landlord will not allow him to.

Last time 7 On Your Side spoke with Weisner, he was upset that his landlord would not let him plug his car into the socket next to his assigned parking space, even though the Chevy Volt needs an ordinary outlet and Weisner offered to pay for the extra electricity. Trinity Management Services sent an email stating that it does not approve such requests.

"As it stands now it's just frustrating," Weisner said.

7 On Your Side has tried to speak with the building owner, Angelo Sangicomo, and his company Trinity Properties, but no one has returned any of 7 On Your Side's calls. However, in a letter to Weisner's attorney, a lawyer for Trinity Properties said, "My client cannot simply endorse the disorganized and haphazard do-it-yourself approach that some tenant or tenants may wish. There are serious life safety issues which must be considered, including possible overloading of electrical circuits and panels, fire and electrical shock hazards."

"It's fairly easy for an electrician to determine if it's safe or not," San Francisco Department of Environment spokesperson Bob Hayden said. Part of Hayden's job is to help building owners accommodate plug-in cars. "For us to be successful we need to work with those types of buildings," he said.

Weisner offered to hire an electrician to evaluate and upgrade the circuits. The response? A cover welded over that socket. So Weisner went back to Crissy Field, happy there are no other cars ready to plug in, and happy for the nice view, but wondering, how long can he keep this up? "I'm going to stick at it. I really want to embrace this technology. I don't want to make the sacrifice of sitting there for four and a half hours every single day. I'm going to have to find a new job if it comes to that," he said.

Trinity Management's attorney also said the building owners are planning to install charging facilities in their new developments, but for older buildings like Weisner's, it's not so easy. Right now, the state is offering grants to build charging stations at apartments and condominiums.


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