Tesla owner 'astonished' by council crackdown on 'unsafe' trend on Aussie streets

Australian electric car owners have long been calling for more charging stations to catch up to the rising rate of EVs on our roads.

A letter to warning a Sydney Tesla owner to immediately cease charging his car via a cord across his street. And his car pictured.
A North Sydney EV driver received a letter warning him to immediately cease charging his car via a cord across his street. Source: The North Shore Times

Australian councils are cracking down on drivers who "unlawfully" charge their electric vehicles via power cords across public land, citing safety concerns, as more drivers are caught connecting their cars up to a residential power source while still parked in the street. One Tesla owner in an affluent Sydney suburb has been threatened with a $330 fine if he doesn't "immediately cease" the practice.

A number of councils across Sydney have vowed to clamp down on the trend, which they say "poses a significant risk to public safety", despite there being a well-reported lack of available charging infrastructure around the city's suburbs to cater to growing demand.

Australian EV motorists have long been calling for more charging stations but according to North Sydney Council, "the five charging facilities available at car parks" should be enough to cater to the number of EV motorists within the LGA, which has a population of around 72,000 people.

However may are finding alternative options.

Waverton resident John Slaytor's Tesla, using a cable was that was covered, minimising the risk of a tripping hazard.
Waverton resident John Slaytor said he went to the effort to ensure the cable was covered, minimising the risk of a tripping hazard. Source: North Shore Times

John Slaytor, from the harbourside suburb of Waverton, about four kilometres north of the CBD, said he was "stunned" to receive a letter from council warning him that if he doesn't immediately stop charging his Tesla from home, they would "have limited options but to consider further regulatory action" — including a fine of $330.

Slaytor, who doesn't have a driveway and isn't able to park his car directly on his property, said he even went to the effort to use a plastic covering over the charging cord to ensure it didn't pose a tripping hazard for passersby. He said his street rarely attracts significant foot traffic after 6pm, and within the area — and across Sydney overall — many homes don't have driveways, forcing residents with EVs to run cables from their homes out onto the street.

"I was astonished — we were only charging at night and we live on a very quiet street,” he told The North Shore Times. "A lot of homes in Sydney don’t have driveways and it’s a huge issue for electric vehicle owners because there’s no other way of being able to charge cars from home. We have a climate emergency but the council is instead more worried about public liability, and being sued."

A Tesla charing via a cord across a public footpath.
EV motorists around the country have been forced to run cables from their homes onto the street in a bid to charge their cars. Source: Facebook

Elsewhere in Sydney, Mosman Council has also taken a similar stance, urging drivers to use publicly available electric vehicle fast charging stations, but even these stations "still take an hour" to fully charge cars, Slaytor argued, which is "not something you want to be doing every day".

A North Sydney Council spokeswoman said the authority "has a responsibility to ensure public safety".

“Electrical cables that run across footpaths are unlawful (and) we encourage residents who are not able to charge electric vehicles on their own properties to make use of the charging facilities available at five council car parks,” she told the Times.

"Warnings are issued for first offences where possible and over the past year council has issued fewer than 10 warnings and no fines."

It's estimated that within NSW, 30 per cent of drivers don't have access to private off-street parking to charge an EV, according to the state government.

An EV running a cord from the street to a home beneath a wooden board.
Some techniques have proved problematic, especially if you ask local councils. Source: Facebook

In the letter Slaytor received, council said: "You are formally warned that placing any electric charging cables in/on/or over the footpath is an offence and this practice must cease immediately".

"In the circumstances that an electric charging cable is again identified over the footpath, Council will have limited option but to consider further regulatory action, including, but not limited to the immediate issuance of Penalty Infringement Notices," it read. "Council understands the need to charge your EV, however the placement of charging cables in public spaces pose significant risks to public safety."

Slaytor said he spent more than $1000 on his charging equipment, and juicing up his Tesla at home was significantly cheaper than using publicly available equipment, costing about 8c per kilowatt compared to 50c at public charging points. "I have solar panels and if I was able to charge from home during the day it would be a lot better for the planet," he said.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted North Sydney Council for comment.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.