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Theft of charging cables for electric cars could be the next wave of car crime

Cable issues: Reports suggest criminals are now targeting the £ 200 lines used by EV owners to charge their vehicles

Concerns grow that a new breed of auto crime could hit the streets of the UK as thieves target the country’s growing numbers of electric vehicle owners.

A number of reports suggest that there has already been an increase in the number of EV drivers pinching their charging cables – the cables that connect to a wallbox, public device, or the mains to charge the batteries in theirs Cars are used.

Smart thieves are fully aware of their value – and the value of the metals in the cables.

With many drivers leaving the cables unattended while they are charging during the day and night or when their vehicles are not connected, criminals snatch them and carry them away with the valuable cables, worth around £ 200 each.

In addition, the drivers of gasoline cars are repeatedly victims of catalytic converter thefts, which have spread across the country in recent years and which, in the worst case, write off faultless vehicles.

Garbage disposal company Divert.co.uk has warned that electric vehicle owners shouldn’t leave an electric charging cord outside of their home as they have become the new target for copper scrap thieves.

“Car chargers are particularly attractive to thieves because they can be sold for up to £ 200 and sell them everywhere, eBay, Facebook and to seedy junk dealers,” said company spokesman Mark Hall.

“And they can be quite expensive and cumbersome for you to replace, so it’s best to keep them away from the crooks.”

With half a million plug-in cars on the UK's roads, criminals have more prey in their sights if they pinch charging cables

With half a million plug-in cars on the UK’s roads, criminals have more prey in their sights if they pinch charging cables

Just last month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that there are now over half a million plug-in cars on the UK’s roads – either fully electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.

With the government looking to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars from 2030, the transition to electrification is expected to gain dramatic momentum over the next decade.

Car thefts decreased by 15% in 2020

Comparison site ComparetheMarket said in a report released this week that 61,743 vehicles have been stolen in the past two years, although rates fell nearly 15 percent (28,454) in 2020 while many of us were at home and on ours Cars could watch out cars to the pandemic.

The remaining 33,289 were stolen in 2019, according to 26 police officers.

Overall, the West Midlands has been the victim of the most crimes (11,506) in the past two years. However, Birmingham West (3,105) tops the total crime count, despite the fact that thefts are down almost 21 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Taking a closer look at vehicle theft across the UK, another analysis shows an annual increase in keyless car theft, accounting for 93 percent of all thefts recorded in 2020.

The most commonly stolen vehicles include the Range Rover and Land Rover, particularly the Range Rover Sport, and Autobiography. This is followed by the Land Rover Discovery and the Range Rover Evoque.

In fact, in 2020, ComparetheMarket saw inquiries for the Range Rover Evoque increase by 11 percent compared to 2019, while the Range Rover Sport increased by 9 percent and the Land Rover Discovery increased by 7 percent.

“There are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your car being stolen, but nothing can protect your vehicle 100 percent,” warns Dan Hutson, head of car insurance at the site.

“So you need to make sure you have insurance that covers theft so you don’t get out of your pocket when a criminal strikes.”

This provides even more target for light-footed criminals who used to target copper in telephone cables and lead from church roofs to make easy money.

And it’s the charging cables – and the copper they contain – that will become the next easy prey for organized thieves.

“As more people become environmentally friendly and choose electric cars over gasoline and diesel, there are more charging cables for thieves to target,” Hall said.

“And at £ 200 apiece, running away with a cord is easy money for any thief trying to get rich.”

This week, the AA said charging cable damage and theft are among the top safety concerns motorists face when it comes to electric vehicle ownership.

More than two thirds (69 percent) of a panel of 15,500 licensees said they fear that charging cables will be tampered with or stolen if they are connected to a public charging station.

It is because catalytic converter thefts have been booming in recent months.

The AA announced in April that it had seen an “explosion” in theft of exhaust systems installed in gasoline and gasoline hybrid vehicles to reduce pollution.

The motorists group said their patrols visited nearly 4,000 cases of catalytic converters ripped from the underside of cars in the past year.

The vehicle recovery service said it was called on only 57 malfunctioning engine cases where these devices were stolen in 2017.

In 2020 that number rose to 3,910 – a jump of 6,760 percent in just four years.

Edmund King, President of the AA, said: “There is a growing concern that charging cable theft may become a new problem alongside catalytic converter theft.

“However, instead of scrapping them, there appears to be a growing market for used cables through online sites.”

Can someone steal a charging cable while it’s in use?

Most of the latest electric vehicle models have locking systems that prevent the cable from being disconnected without the car being unlocked.

This is to allow owners to safely charge the car overnight or while shopping.

However, they are not always completely foolproof.

Older popular electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are not believed to have effective safety measures to prevent anyone other than the owner from disconnecting the cables, according to charging station installer Brite.

Tesla has also been targeted by hackers trying to remotely access the vehicle to end the charging session so they can get away with the cables.

The US firm was also forced to provide a software update for “cold weather improvements” after owners reported cases where the locking mechanism failed when temperatures dropped below freezing.

Edmund King, president of the AA, says the cables are being stolen by criminals for resale, some with a value of over £ 200

Edmund King, president of the AA, says the cables are being stolen by criminals for resale, some with a value of over £ 200

Replacing a stolen charger cable can cost anywhere from £ 125 to over £ 200.

Edmund King told us that the best way to protect non-wired cables is to lock them out of sight.

“It is quite difficult to steal a cable when an electric vehicle is charging, and most public charging stations are in well-lit and populated areas,” he said.

“There is some copper in the cables, but my technical expert thinks they are worth more as a complete charging cable than as scrap metal.

“We have seen trends like this in the past, from lead on church roofs to metal in wire ropes along the train tracks. Let’s hope this is just a slip up and that the drivers remember to lock the cable in the trunk after loading, which is exactly what I’m doing now. ‘

AA introduces EV insurance

To keep potential electric vehicle owners safe, the AA has introduced electric vehicle insurance, which covers the top five driver insurance concerns.

These include:

1. Accidental damage, fire or theft of the car and personal cables when connected to a public charging station – 69%

2. Main drive battery damage – 65%

3. Accidental damage, fire or theft of the car and personal cables when connected to a home charger – 65%

4th Damage to the charging cable – 48%

5. Protection if someone trips over the charging cable – 44%

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