Stay at an Elements hotel, and plug in your EV for free. That’s the message this green-themed chain, a cog in the giant Starwood hotel empire, is sending out. It works for electric bikes and scooters, too. If you have a mere hybrid, it at least gets preferred “green carpet” parking.

Value on the open market? Maybe $4, and the offer expires at the end of the year — long before more than a handful of EVs are on the road. They probably had trouble finding the car in the picture. What is that, anyway?

Did I mention you have to be a guest? The stations are accessed by swiping your key fob. If the hotels were closer together, they’d constitute an EV-charging corridor like the (also free) network between Los Angeles and San Francisco operated from Rabobank branches (one of them solar powered). Wind-friendly Denmark actually subsidizes EV buyers with a $40,000 tax break. Now that's value! It's all about one EV at a time, a strategy embraced by the new Electrification Coalition.

EV charging does make a statement, complementing the hotels’ LEED certification (the hotel near Boston is LEED Gold), low-flow bathroom fixtures, LED and compact fluorescent lights, low-VOC paints, and energy management system. According to Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of global brand management at several Starwood chains, the water savings so far amount to 942,000 gallons per hotel. The lighting saves enough energy for 236 American homes annually, and HVAC and lighting management over 60 days reduces operating expenses $6,000, the equivalent of 2,200 gallons of gasoline.

The Lexington, Mass., hotel was the first to get ChargePoint plug-ins, which were developed by the ambitious Coulomb Technologies working with Carbon Day Automotive. The station, which takes over a single parking space, is equipped with a universal charger that can accommodate a number of EVs, buses and bikes. With Google Maps, power-hungry electric car owners can find Elements stations at the six hotels are open so far and will be EV-friendly (in Las Vegas, Houston and Irving, Texas, Denver, Lexington, Mass., and Arundel Mills in Maryland). A hotel in New York City’s Times Square will open next year, though accommodating EV charging there will be a challenge.

McGuinness admits that “there aren’t a lot of EVs out there yet, but we’re future-proofing our hotels.”

Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

Staying at an Elements hotel? Plug in your electric vehicle for free
The Elements hotel chain is the latest business helping to create a green image with electric car charging. Check Google Maps, swipe your key card, and you're i