Ashland, Oregon’s The Garden Cottages is already designed to be eco-friendly. The 12 houses will also feature a communal electric vehicle for residents.

The Garden Cottages is designed by KDA Homes, and offers “active and passive solar designs, renewable energy features, low-impact/bee-friendly landscaping with a pollinator garden, and thoughtful water conservation.” The development will also feature one EV charging station, and each house has the option to have their own individual port. Each cottage is a two bedroom/one bathroom.

Mark Knox, founding partner of KDA Homes, explained the communal electric vehicle pilot program to Ashland Tidings:

It cost people $10,000 to $12,000 a year just to own a car, and so we want to reduce that need to have that extra car. I think that in communities such as Ashland, where they’re really pedestrian-friendly and everything’s in close distance, that you could get by with one standard gas-powered vehicle. You can walk, bike, or if you have to, you can opt to use the electric shared car, but you don’t need to have a second car, necessarily. We think it goes well with Ashland’s planning efforts.

I think we are in a climate crisis, and I think that every aspect of our society is going to have to change, and that includes the building industry.

Residents use a smartphone app to book the use of the electric vehicle. KDA Homes will maintain the EV for the first couple of years. (The company hasn’t yet identified which make and model they will be purchasing.) Ownership of the communal electric vehicle will then transfer directly to the homeowners, and the car will be replaced every seven years.

Each home will be charged a $50 monthly maintenance fee to care for the property’s communal areas. That includes the parking lot and the car. The price of the cottages start at $349,000 and are expected to be completed by January.

Ashland already has six public EV chargers, and 700 EVs are registered in the city, which has a population of 21,117.

Electrek’s Take

I could only dream of this option in my neighborhood; maybe I’ll suggest it at our next neighborhood meeting.

The development, of course, features a parking lot, but perhaps fewer people will opt for cars, so it could solve competition for parking. And Knox is right — it will save a fortune in car costs.

The booking app will hopefully minimize conflict over who is booking when, as long as there aren’t a few people who use the car disproportionately to everyone else. While communally minded people tend to buy in this sort of development, eventually there will be some sort of disagreement, because, well, that’s what human beings do. But the pros will far outweigh the cons.

And to state the obvious, it’s an incredibly green energy-friendly decision, where everyone benefits on many levels.

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