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Thread: good free charging spots in Cambridge/Boston?

  1. #1
    Member gnychis's Avatar
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    good free charging spots in Cambridge/Boston?

    I just moved to Cambridge from the SF Bay Area and I'm still trying to find a stable location to charge. I'm staying with a good friend whose building does not have accessible plugs. So until I find a home here, I'm a bit "on the street" when it comes to charging.

    I'm a bit surprised how little free charging I've been able to find here. Most garages that have chargers want $9+ to park, if not extremely higher (even off-peak). In the Bay Area, significant number of garages were free with lots of free chargers everywhere. Some non-free garages even gave free parking and free charging to electric cars.

    All of that aside, anyone know any *really* good spots to charge in Cambridge, if not then some maybe in Boston or Somerville? Thanks a bunch for any help. Still getting acquainted.
    Currently: 2014 85kWh Tesla Model S - White - Sunroof - Air suspension - Xpel + OptiCoat
    Previously: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E -- I miss you, but not your gas consumption

  2. #2
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    Free parking in Cambridge? Surely you jest!

    Seriously, though. Try the Alewife station garage ($7/day, $8 overnight). Then you can take the T elsewhere in town and come back later. The Chargepoints may fill during the day; you may have better luck parking overnight after work.
    MBTA Alewife Station

    It's been a while since I've shopped there, but the Cambridgeside Galleria mall was reasonable, IIRC, especially with validation (they have some number of Chargepoints).

    There are people from Cambridge on here who may take pity on you and offer a HPWC.

    The Watertown service center may be an option.

    Remember, Plugshare is your friend.

  3. #3
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    Free charging? You haven't been out of California much, have you?
    60 kWh | Green | Tan Leather | Obeche Matte | Tech Package | Pano Roof | Supercharging | Parcel Shelf

  4. #4
    Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh woof's Avatar
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    Cambridgeside Galleria has four Free Level 2 Chargepoints (almost always in use by a Volt or 3), and the parking is relatively cheap. 1st hour only $1.99, Free with Cheesecake Factory or other restaurant validation. The parking price may be reduced in the evening...I don't recall.

    In Medford there is a Century Bank right off the 93 exit to 38 that has several Chargepoint's. The lot is "free" too...not that there's much to do but bank there. I believe the Sheriff's office is in the same lot so probably pretty safe.
    --Woof!
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  5. #5
    Model S VIN P01536 Robert.Boston's Avatar
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    There's plenty of free charging--just not much free parking. Lexington Center has free charging near many useful businesses and on the bus lines back to Cambridge.

  6. #6
    Model S Owner PeterK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woof View Post
    Cambridgeside Galleria has four Free Level 2 Chargepoints (almost always in use by a Volt or 3), and the parking is relatively cheap. 1st hour only $1.99, Free with Cheesecake Factory or other restaurant validation. The parking price may be reduced in the evening...I don't recall.
    Galleria Chargepoints often have at least two cars at a time if not more - the first time I went there to charge before my 240v line was installed, a BMW Active-E zipped past me near the lot entrance as I was trying to figure things out. He knew where the chargers were, and was damned if he was going to let me get the last one! I don't believe they reduce the price in the evenings but $1.99 is pretty good, and it's a short walk to Green Line Lechmere Station or 10-12 minutes' walk to Kendall Square (Red Line).

    The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square has a free J1772 but their parking rates are high.

    Porter Square Shopping Center (Star Market, Tags Hardware, CVS, etc.) has two free Chargepoints and there's usually at least one available. All parking there is supposed to be limited to two hours while shopping, and I've been told they do check because people have been known park and get on the Red Line T. Before my charger was installed and more recently when my driveway was dug up for two weeks I occasionally left the car charging there for a few hours during the day or even overnight.

    @gnychis, if all else fails, I would be willing to lend my HPWC overnight or during the day. I'm about 5 min. walk from Porter Square station. PM me if you are interested.
    P13743 reserved 11/11/12, delivered 3/6/13: 85kWh, Blue/tan w/matte obeche, panoramic, sound, tech, twin chargers, paint armor, jump seats and HPWC
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  7. #7
    Member gnychis's Avatar
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    Guys, many thanks for all of the advice and suggestions. It is definitely appreciated. It has definitely been a big difference from CA! I checked out the Galleria and found that they only charge $4 flat from 5pm to midnight, that's pretty good to gain around 100 miles of charge. I looked up the Alewife station and saw they have a lot of chargepoints there, that's also a good alternative although they seem to be pretty busy. Thanks for offering your HPWC Peter. I might take you up on it if I am in a pinch or need a quick charge in a short period of time. Hopefully I just find somewhere stable to live/park soon and this problem goes away!
    Currently: 2014 85kWh Tesla Model S - White - Sunroof - Air suspension - Xpel + OptiCoat
    Previously: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E -- I miss you, but not your gas consumption

  8. #8
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    I also highly recommend the garage at Kendall Square. Day time prices are high, but after 4pm it's only 8$ until 6AM (10$ flat on weekends). Being Kendall Square, you also feel safe in the garages (very well lit) and there is little foot traffic. The spots are a bit small but you can just park on the other side of the poles (the cord reaches fine).

  9. #9
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    Cambridge Spots w/ free parking

    Yeah, so there are actually free spots in Cambridge just not that many of them.

    You can find these on Plugshare:

    1) On the side of the Cambridge City Hall, there is a chargepoint reserved only for charging vehicles (free parking) Cambridge City Council Office
    2) At the MIT furniture exchange, there is a chargepoint reserved only for charging vehicles (free parking)
    3) I use this one the most as I like to go to HMart and this parking lot is always full (not free but very cheap) City of Cambridge - Lot 5
    4) Again City of Cambridge, free parking but not free to charge William Frazier Administration Building
    5) At the Porter Exchange, free parking but almost always occupied by a white Volt (very annoying) and one other PHEV Porter Square Shopping Center
    6) Pretty sure this is free at MIT on Vassar St MIT
    7) This one might be free parking MIT Campus - Building E62

    In general, if it's a garage you'll have to pay unless owned by the City of Cambridge.

    PM, if you have any questions or need to use my NEMA.

    Cheers,

    Mike




    Quote Originally Posted by gnychis View Post
    I just moved to Cambridge from the SF Bay Area and I'm still trying to find a stable location to charge. I'm staying with a good friend whose building does not have accessible plugs. So until I find a home here, I'm a bit "on the street" when it comes to charging.

    I'm a bit surprised how little free charging I've been able to find here. Most garages that have chargers want $9+ to park, if not extremely higher (even off-peak). In the Bay Area, significant number of garages were free with lots of free chargers everywhere. Some non-free garages even gave free parking and free charging to electric cars.

    All of that aside, anyone know any *really* good spots to charge in Cambridge, if not then some maybe in Boston or Somerville? Thanks a bunch for any help. Still getting acquainted.

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