An electric vehicle (EV) owner in Western Australia has received a hefty fine for plugging into a council power box for a charge.

    The Polestar 2 owner received a $500 fine.

    “To clarify. If you want to recharge your e-vehicle, DON’T steal the electricity to do so. Police will prosecute in EVERY instance,” said Mt Barker Police on social media.

    “This recharge cost the vehicle owner a $500 fine, for stealing from the Shire. Be better.”

    The post was re-shared by the official WA Police Force – Great Southern District Facebook account, but appears to have since been removed.

    The fine is certainly disproportionate to the cost of the energy delivered to the vehicle, and comments on the police department’s post have been largely negative.

    The nearest Chargefox charger is approximately 46km from Mount Barker in Albany, though Plugshare lists a single charger in town.

    “15amp outlet on red post in rear council parking. Ask council permission before plugging in,” it notes.

    It’s unclear why this EV owner chose to plug into this particular power box instead of charging at home, as it was unlikely to be a particularly fast charge.

    Western Australia is working to address its lack of charging infrastructure, with plans to create the longest continuously connected electric highway in the country.

    The State Government has contracted Australia’s JET Charge to supply charging hardware, with Synergy and Horizon Power to supply the energy.

    WA’s plan, announced last year, will see 98 EV chargers installed at 49 locations over a claimed 6600km.

    According to the office of State Premier Mark McGowan, WA’s fast charging network will stretch from Kununurra in the north, to Esperance in the south, and east to Eucla.

    The average distance between stations in this network will be about 200km.

    Each location will have both a standard AC and a fast DC charger, the latter outputting up to 150kW. It’s more common to see charging sites using faster DC chargers.

    The network is set to be fully operational by 2024.

    “WA’s EV fast charging network is an important step to boost our uptake of electric vehicles, enabling drivers to travel the vast distances around the State more easily,” contends Mr McGowan.

    “This will help to reduce carbon emissions, as WA transitions to net zero by 2050. When completed, WA’s EV fast charging network will be the world’s longest of its kind – with construction well underway and expected to be completed by early 2024.”

    This project is part of the McGowan Government’s $43.5 million Electric Vehicle Fund.

    Headlining the WA plan is the ‘Clean Energy Car Fund’ which will include a claimed $36.5 million in taxpayer dollars to pay for up to 10,000 rebates of $3500 each, to Western Australians who buy a new EV or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle (FCEV) up to a value of $70,000.

    These rebates are the highest in the land, compared to $3000 rebates offered (or coming) in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

    MORE: WA government releases $3500 EV rebate, 2027 road-user charge
    MORE: Western Australia building country’s longest ‘electric highway
    MORE: What electric car buyer incentives are offered in Australia?

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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