Electric car owners who charge their vehicles by running extension cables over public footpaths could face substantial fines, local councils have warned.

The practice is becoming increasingly common as EV owners attempt to find convenient at-home charging solutions while waiting for public charging infrastructure to ramp up.

After spotting a Tesla Model 3 being charged with a covered extension cord running over a footpath in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, Drive contacted a couple of local councils to find out whether the practice was legally permissible.

“Charging an electric vehicle (EV) with a power cord running across a footpath, road or nature strip breaches our Local Laws and poses a risk to public safety, including for those who are visually impaired,” Port Phillip Council Mayor Heather Cunsolo told Drive.

“This infringement carries a fine of $960. We encourage residents to lodge a report via Snap Send Solve to help us address these types of incidents and educate residents about the risks.”

These rules still apply even if residents take safety precautions, such as using a cable protector (as shown in the image above).

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the nearby Boroondara council agreed the practice was unsafe and against regulations.

“Council doesn’t issue permits to residents to run charging cables across footpaths to charge their electric vehicles as this creates a hazard for pedestrians, people using mobility vehicles due to a disability, and people on bicycles/toy vehicles,” a City of Boroondara spokesperson said.

In late 2022, Nine.com.au ran a report about Sydneysiders being warned against running power cables over footpaths, off the back of photos published by radio station 2GB showing EV charging cables draped over trees.

In an effort to combat these ad-hoc charging solutions, some councils are trialling pedestrian-safe kerbside charging infrastructure.

Port Phillip Council says it is the first council in Victoria to begin installing “private, lockable, pop-up kerbside chargers” to offer charging solutions for residents who don’t have off-street parking.

“Like many inner Melbourne municipalities, we understand it can be difficult for EV users to charge their vehicles if they don’t have off-street parking,” Mayor Cunsolo told Drive.

“This lockable ‘pop-up’ kerbside charging unit allows residents without off-street parking to easily charge electric vehicles outside their homes.

“The pilot program involves permitting the installation of up to 10 kerbside EV charging units to test if this is a feasible way of providing safe and convenient access to EV charging. We have installed three charging units with four more applications pending and likely to proceed.

The pilot is expected to run until the end of the year. We will consider the outcomes when deciding on the next steps for EV charging in Port Phillip.”

Extracted in full from: Can I charge my electric car at home with an extension cord? (drive.com.au)