Electric vehicle driver's 'arrogant' stunt at charging station exposes common problem

The Gold Coast man was charging his electric motorbike when the driver pulled an 'unbelievable' act at a charging bay in Perth.

An electric motorbike rider has gone head to head with a rival EV owner who he claims "unplugged my motorbike" before attempting to "wheel it out of the charging bay" — a daring move that highlights a major problem in Australia.

Gordon Walker, a retiree living on the Gold Coast, told Yahoo News Australia he couldn't believe it when his Evie app told him "charging was finished" just 10 minutes after he'd parked and plugged it into the bay.

He was visiting Perth at the time riding his Harley Davidson LiveWire — the brand's first electric vehicle which was released in 2019. Unlike, electric cars which have a locking mechanism when being charged, the motorbike doesn't, meaning a stranger was able to pull out the cable.

"I walked outside to see a crazy Nissan Leaf owner had unplugged my motorbike and was trying to wheel 250 kgs of EV Harley out of the charging bay," Walker told Yahoo. "I confronted him; his excuse was, these are for cars mate, pointing to a picture of a car painted on the concrete".

Left: Gordon Walker wearing Harley Davidson jacket. Right: Harley Davidson Livewire electric motorbike charging at an electric vehicle bay.
Gordon Walker says he caught an Electric Vehicle driver unplugging his electric motorbike from a charging bay. Source: Gordon Walker

Walker, who invests in both AI in the US and a privately funded battery start-up in Australia, says he's owned and driven several electric vehicles over the years but never has he experienced such "unbelievable" behaviour.

"I complained and some security guard came out from a big company where it was located. We had all sorts of carry on because I was standing there very, very angry that this twat had unplugged my motorbike and was wheeling it out of the charging space."

'Arrogant' EV drivers 'annoying' parking move

While he's never quite had this happen before, "arrogant" behaviour is typical of electric vehicle owners, he claims — such as overstaying time in bays.

"Expensive Tesla drivers are arrogant, I've seen it so many times where they're plugged in, they're at 100 per cent and they don't come back for an hour and a half. They treat it as free parking, that's annoying," he said.

"You can't move their car, you can't unplug it and you can't get your car or bike close enough to plug it in."

"I'm always very courteous," the 67-year-old said. "I charge my bike and as soon as it's charged I'll move it out. It depends on the charger, but the computer on my motorbike regulates it, so I can get 80 per cent in 20 minutes".

Left: Black and orange Harley Davidson LiveWire parked alongside a beach on the Gold Coast. Right: Harley Davidson LiveWire charging at parking pay in Robina.
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire was released in 2019 and is the manufacturer's first electric vehicle. Source: Gordon Walker

Another major issue with this, he says, is that physical chargers have two plugs meaning two vehicles can charge at any one time. It's easy enough for him to wheel up his bike next to a larger vehicle. However, having multiple vehicles using one 50-kilowatt charger extends the charging time with less power going to each — something he says EV drivers are often "not very happy about".

"They're sitting there in their Tesla or the BYD or whatever they've got and it's saying, 'you got 30 minutes to full'. Then I plug in the bike and suddenly it's 60 minutes," he said. "They're not happy it doubles their charging time".

A long line of electric vehicle queued for a charging station in Keith, South Australia.
More than 10 electric vehicles were queued for a charging station in Keith, South Australia over the long weekend. Source: TikTok

EVs 'not the way of the future'

Time and time again EV drivers face long queues at charging stations across the country due to limited availability. Currently there are only 3,000 public charging stations nationwide, equating to 7,000 individual plugs.

Walker agrees more needs to be done to improve the EV infrastructure in Australia for it to be a viable option for the future, suggesting a hybrid might be a better alternative.

"EVs are not the way of the future. It's a hiccup and it's a disaster," he said. "For me, the Harley-Davidson electric motorbike is a toy. It's something that's very interesting".

"It's very, very different to ride. It's extraordinarily quick. And it was put together by Harley-Davidson out of an international parts bin," he added.

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