Automotive elevator: what is it and how does it work?

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car elevator

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The real estate market is always looking for innovations and new technologies, and materials are always valued to attract buyers. A novelty in the real estate market in recent years, especially in the residential environment, was the car lifts, a totally innovative technology.

Automotive elevator technology is coming with a vengeance in the world’s luxury real estate market, as buyers don’t just want common items in their homes. Thus, properties with this technology allow vehicles to be part of the resident’s daily life as a decorative element to be observed by everyone.

What is a car lift?

The car elevator is basically a car elevator, used to take vehicles from the ground floor to the desired floor. Still little used in the Brazilian real estate market, it started to appear more and more due to the demand of buyers for this equipment in real estate.

The technology is very similar to the garage buildings, which are more common to be seen. Each car lift is designed and produced for each type of project, with a variety of models and types of structure, more or less complex, whose objective is to make the car part of the property.

Where are they used? 

Automotive elevators are not commonly found in developments, but they are considered very high-tech and luxurious items in the real estate industry, attracting a lot of attention.

This type of technology was born in Singapore, then started to be used in the United States, mainly in Miami and New York, and arrived in Brazil in smaller proportions.

Hamilton Scotts apartment with glass wall dividing the living room and garage. Hamilton Scotts Apartment: the division between the living room and garage.

The first use of this technology came with the luxury Hamilton Scotts building in Singapore, with 30 floors and 56 apartments, each with two parking spaces. In this development, the vehicle can be admired from the living room, through a glass partition between the living room environment and the garage.

Another development that can be considered a reference in the use of automotive elevators is the Porsche Design Tower, which demonstrates technology integrated with luxury. With 60 floors and 132 units, it allows residents to have up to four cars inside the apartment.

Porsche Design Tower with its garage inside the apartment. Porsche Design Tower and the garage with parked vehicles.

The most recent Brazilian development that uses the automotive elevator system is the  Victorian Living Desire, located in Goiânia, in the Marista district, in 2017, which was born with the objective of bringing a new concept to high-end buildings.

In order to be able to plan this structure so well thought out in terms of architecture, technology and materials, the project had great names, such as architects Alexandre Leite and Pablo Slemenson and landscape designer Benedito Abbud.

Integration between the open kitchen and the garage of the apartment in the Victorian Living Desire building. Integration between kitchen and garage in the apartment in the Victorian Living Desire building.

In a 31-story building with one apartment per floor, the luxury development has 404 m² apartments with varied layouts, and the buyer can choose the best for their daily lives. From the structure to the materials used, the project seeks to show luxury and technology to buyers, being one of the few Brazilian options with the automotive elevator, called SkyDrive in the project.

How does the system work?

As the car elevator is thought of on a case-by-case basis, some small factors change from project to project, depending also on the complexity of the overall structure.

In the Hamilton Scotts building, to ensure safety, cars are isolated in an all-glass garage, which is not accessible from the apartment, only visual contact; thus, for the car to reach the apartment’s garage, the resident must drive it to a platform located on the ground floor of the building.

When the car is on the platform, the resident enters his registered password, and the car is taken to the apartment’s garage. As there is no access from the garage to the apartment, the resident must leave the vehicle on the platform and take the common elevator to their home. This building was very important to start the era of automotive elevators around the world.

Porsche Design Tower car lift system. Porsche Design Tower car lift.

The car lift system in the Porsche Design Tower is similar to the previous one, but with some differentials that offer greater comfort to the resident. The system uses a swivel base that drives the car to the desired floor; the resident only needs to approach this base, which collects the vehicle and automatically boards it in the elevator.

In this case, the base is responsible for loading and unloading the vehicle on the desired floors, just by approaching the car driven by the resident. The apartment’s garage is connected to other environments, allowing the driver to remain in the vehicle during transport.

The Victorian Living Desire building’s automotive elevator takes cars from the ground floor to the apartment floor, but the system is simpler and a little different from the previous ones, as it only has one apartment per floor.

Car elevator from the Victorian Living Desire building leaving directly from the apartment's garage. Automotive elevator (SkyDrive) of the Victorian Living Desire building.

Thus, the resident himself drives the vehicle to the elevator and enters it; for security, only registered vehicles can enter the elevator. In addition to this system, the elevator has presence sensors in the doors and bars and is also equipped with a biometric system to recognize the passenger’s fingerprint, which is an active security element.

SkyDrive has a total load capacity of 2,500 kg, so apartments can only have one parked vehicle.

Victorian Living Desire automotive elevator and its operation. Source: Live

For the building to house this type of automotive elevator, some requirements need to be met, such as the project being framed in the standard NBR 14712, of the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT), which establishes the safety requirements necessary for the construction and installation of this type of elevator.

What are the advantages of using a car lift?

Having an automotive elevator in your building has numerous advantages, such as new applied technology, valorization of high-end property, daily convenience and even display of an exclusive or collectible vehicle as part of the decoration.

Among the advantages, two certainly stand out when thinking about the car lift: the convenience of arriving with the car and going straight to the apartment without traveling long distances, especially when you have just gone to the market and have a full car, that is, facilitating the resident’s daily life is a great differential.

Apartment in the Victorian Living Desire building with car lift. Apartment in the Victorian Living Desire building overlooking the parked vehicle.

Just as having a reserved space for your car inside the apartment allows you to show your friends and guests your new purchase, in addition to being able to admire the vehicle in the common areas of the apartment, for car lovers it is a dream possible to come true.

As a first in the world real estate market, the car elevator will increasingly become a trend seen in new luxury developments. So, if you like cars, you’ll love this great difference in your property!