Seattle Condo Tower’s Automated Parking Garage Enhances Tech with EV Charging Bays

A robotic arm helps autonomously charge a Tesla EV in the parking garage at Spire, a residential tower in downtown Seattle. (Image via Reese Films)

An automated parking garage beneath a luxury condo tower in downtown Seattle is calling in reinforcements, with robotic arms that now help charge electric vehicles.

Spire, a 41-story building a stone’s throw from Amazon headquarters on Sixth Avenue, announced an EV charging system Monday that it says can fully charge up to 192 vehicles — more than two thirds of the building’s garage capacity — within a 24-hour period.

The $350 million development, which is more than 80% sold, made headlines three years ago with the installation of a computer-controlled, automated parking system that uses elevators and a system of dollies to transport vehicles to available parking spaces underground.

Now, if a vehicle needs to be recharged, it is transported to an assigned EV charging station, where a robotic arm automatically grabs a charger and inserts it into the vehicle.

Watch it in action:

Spire says its infrastructure can accommodate all types of EVs. And unlike traditional parking garages, where EVs are limited by the number of chargers and available power, Spire’s system will be able to accommodate up to 100% EV charging if future demand requires it.

The condo tower’s parking system was designed and installed by California-based Parkworks and was manufactured in Switzerland by Sotefin. The automatic EV charging system was designed and installed by Parkworks.

Instead of an EV being brought to a charger, Seattle-based startup Autev envisions a future where EV drivers can park their vehicles in a garage, open an app and enter a parking space number. When they return, their EV battery is topped off thanks to autonomous robots that charge electric vehicles without human assistance.

Public EV charging stations in the Seattle area have been targeted by thieves of late who are cutting the cables off the machines to cash in on small amounts of copper wiring. The thefts are particularly painful for drivers who lack home chargers and are left scrambling to find a way to juice up their vehicles. Each damaged charger can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Spire, a property of California-based Laconia Development, features 343 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes and penthouses with prices starting in the mid $500,000s.

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