Wodonga Council takes extraordinary decision to allow Tesla Superchargers to be ICEd

With a lack of Government investment in EV infrastructure, Tesla set about rolling out their own Supercharger network across the globe. In Australia much of the East coast is...

With a lack of Government investment in EV infrastructure, Tesla set about rolling out their own Supercharger network across the globe. In Australia much of the East coast is now connected and an important corridor is the route through Wodonga which connects those driving from Sydney or Canberra down to Melbourne.

The trip from Sydney to Melbourne is 878km which places Wodonga is key strategic location where Tesla owners could take a break, recharge (the car and people) before completing the drive.

5-13 Havelock Street, Wodonga is close to great coffee shops, Subway, the public Library and Safeway Supermarket on the main street of Wodonga. With so many locations possible in the Albury Wodonga area, Tesla chose a great one.

First confirmed back in August 2015, the location was supported by Wodonga Council, with an agreement Tesla could use the land where 6 car parks would be available and the charging infrastructure placed close by.

By October 2015, Wodonga’s Tesla Supercharger location was open to Model S and Model X owners, a progressive move by Wodonga Council, something they received a lot of positive press for.

Now in 2019 Wodonga Council have back tracked on that and have taken the remarkable decision to actually allow ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles to park in Supercharging bays for up to 60 minutes.

Internationally, this problem is increasing (without encouragement) with many users online sharing photos of Supercharger bays being blocked by inconsiderate or jealous people.

With the Model 3 launching in Australia next month, the volume of Tesla owners who will need to charge at these 6 Supercharging bays will grow exponentially as the price of Model 3 is substantially less (i.e. more affordable to more people).

I reached out to Wodonga Council to see if they were doing anything about these vehicles and here’s there boilerplate response which was sent to at least one other person who enquired.

Amazingly Google Street View has captured 5 of the 6 Superchargers being ICEd. This is not good enough, not even close.

Here’s the real grind. Wodonga Council recently completed a redevelopment of the main street (High Street). Residents were concerned about a reduction of parking spots, so they released information specifically addressing just how many available parks there are in the CBD.

There are more than 400 car spaces directly behind both sides of the High St works zone including all day, two-hour and disabled parking spaces. The car parks are all less than 200 metres from High St.

Wodonga Council High st (South) to Lawrence st Project page

Below is a birds-eye view from Google maps which I think pretty dramatically shows just how small of a footprint the EV parks consume.

These EV parks need to be treated the same as disabled parking, if you don’t meet the criteria (have a Tesla logo on your car) you can not park there or you will receive a fine to ensure you don’t do it again in the future.

This issue of EV charging locations being blocked by non-EV cars has been increasing in regularity internationally. To my knowledge, this has never been endorsed by the land owner of the Supercharger like it has been from Wodonga Council.

This policy seriously needs to be reconsidered. If you agree, please let them know, their contact details are available from https://www.wodonga.vic.gov.au/Contact-Us

One last thing.. that building you see in the background is the Wodonga Council building which are currently doing extensions and have building fencing that is consuming more than a dozen car parks.

When I visited the Wodonga Supercharger this weekend, I found it empty (along with dozens of regular parks), however many other parts of the week, this is not the case.

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GeneralVehicles

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
7 Comments on this post.

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  • Wodonga Council
    29 July 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Jason,
    We would like to clarify, the parking situation in this location has not changed since the chargers came online. It was always the case that while there were six charging bays, only two were dedicated Tesla spaces and the others were open to short-term parking by other vehicles.
    Tesla has put in the infrastructure but only officially leases two car spaces for Tesla use.

    Leave a Reply
    • Jason Cartwright
      29 July 2019 at 4:51 pm

      As discussed on Twitter, you were asked to reconsider in light of the impending release of the Model 3 in Australia which will sell in the thousands, not hundreds like the S and X. I’m not concerned with the history of the chargers, rather the future and hoped that my local council would be supporting those owners who choose to buy EVs by ensuring these 6 bays are always available for charging.

      The information regarding ‘Tesla has put in the infrastructure but only officially leases two car spaces for Tesla use.’ is new information, but I fail to see how that actually impacts the future trajectory of those spaces. The infrastructure is there, the 6 bays are clearly labelled for Tesla parking, you took the PR for the 6-bay supercharger and you should support that going forward.

      This really should be a massive positive for our city, one that you can promote and attract people from other states. Please reconsider.

      Leave a Reply
      • Martin Winlow
        29 July 2019 at 9:50 pm

        I could not put it better than Jason. I appreciate that council members are probably not EV owners and therefore have no idea what the implications are for a Tesla driver, relying on what little charging infrastructure there is, to be thwarted by an inconsiderate/lazy/spiteful ICEV driver. It isn’t a minor inconvenience – it could completely mess up a whole family’s travel plans with all the potential knock-on effects that may cause.

        Leave a Reply
    • Concerned Yankee
      30 July 2019 at 2:44 am

      Get a clue wodonga. Now thousands of people around the world have heard about your town but only for the reason that you are blocking chargers. Is this how you want to be known? The ICEing town???

      Leave a Reply
  • Tom
    30 July 2019 at 2:14 am

    That official looking Tesla sign there says that it’s 60 minutes general parking. You’re right that the parking should be reserved for EVs (not just Teslas). But it seems Tesla themselves are happy to allow general parking there, so likely this was part of the Tesla agreement with the council.

    Hopefully this will change. As more Tesla come to use these charging point and there are more queues of cars waiting to charge, I’m sure the council will come round and change the policy. But probably not until this happens because that’s generally how politics works — reactionary as opposed to preemptive.

    Leave a Reply
    • Michael Suss
      22 August 2019 at 9:34 pm

      The sign was written wrongly. The word ‘accepted’ should have been written ‘excepted’. This means that anyone can park there for one hour but those who are using the other four rechargers can stay there longer than one hour in addition to the other two dedicated ones.

      Leave a Reply
  • Greg Hudson
    15 September 2019 at 11:59 am

    Looks like it is time for Tesla to buy its own SC site in Wodonga, or move to a friendlier site across the border in Albury NSW. As it is, the site is a major diversion off the freeway to get to it anyway, so moving it is probably a good idea anyway.

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