When you own your first electric car, you may not be aware of the cost to replace the charging cable. They are hard to break, but the biggest threat is actually theft. It sounds strange that someone would be out stealing EV cables even when they may not have their own electric car.
Learning what to do to protect to prevent the theft of your cable needs to be a priority due to the cost and the inconvenience.
How to Protect Your EV Charging Cable From Theft. To prevent the theft of your charging cable, you should use a padlock and secure the cable to the entry of the charge port on your electric car. There is usually a small metal ring where you can connect the EV cable to the charge port.
It is important to lock your EV because the cost can be quite high. I have read that some companies charge clients over $1000 for a replacement cable. You can pay an aftermarket charging cable but there is no guarantee that it will work with all models of EV.
When you charge your EV at a charging station, most times, the station has the cable and you just connect it to your car. Nevertheless, there will be times when you will need to use your own cable. For instance, if you are charging at home, or a friend’s place using the regular electrical outlet.
I have even heard of public charge stations that require that you use your own cable. It is rare where I live, but I know that there are out there.
Why Would Someone Want to Steal Your EV Charging Cable?
There are a lot of strange people out and about and sometimes they do not have a logical reason for damaging the property of others. Any time that you use your own EV cable, you are vulnerable to theft.
Here are the major reasons as to why someone might steal a charging cable:
- Vandalism – Some people are jealous of the owners of electric cars. There is a premium price on an electric car and others may feel that they are extravagant and not needed. I have heard about people tearing the EV charging cable out of the EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) and throwing it away into the nearest dumpster.
- Copper Content – The copper content is high in the charging cable. Any time a crook has the opportunity to make a buck by reselling items that contain copper, they will do so. It is the same situation with abandoned homes where criminals will remove copper plumbing pipes.
- Other Owners Wanting a Second Charger – I have heard of people that steal cables if it is the type that works with their personal vehicle. This reason for theft is rare, but it does happen.
- Reselling the Cables – I read on one forum about a person in the UK that had his cable stolen. A few hours later an ad online appeared that was selling the exact same type of cable in the same neighborhood.
- The Charge is Completed and Someone Wants the Space – This is the case where someone is wanting to charge their car and there are zero spaces left. They notice that there is a car that is fully charged but still connected to the charging station. They get frustrated and rip the cable out of the car damaging the entry port and the cable. Perhaps to get rid of the evidence, they might be tempted to dispose of the tore cable.
Some Electric Vehicles Are Known to Have a Weak Locking Mechanism for the Charging Cable
Sometimes the make of the vehicle takes a role in whether or not the cable will be stolen. I have read that the Nissan Leaf has that problem. The locking mechanism seems to be very weak and there are many cases of theft when compared to other manufacturers.
If the locking mechanism is weak, it just takes a strong tug on the cable to dislodge it from the vehicle. Even though more models lock the cable in while charging, the Leaf seems to have a mechanism that is vulnerable.
If you have an older model of Leaf and you notice that the connection is loose, you should take extra precautions.
I will now explain in more detail where to secure your charging cable to prevent theft.
How to protect your Charging Cable – More Home Remedies
- Use the Garage Door – If you have a garage and it is too full for you to charge your car inside the security of your garage. you can still secure the cable through the use of the actual door to the garage. What you need to do is pass the cable under the door of the garage. With an extension cord, connect the cable to the outlet that is in the garage. Now, close the garage door to the point where holds down the cable but still is in the lock position. You should use a floor cord protector so that the door does not crush the cable. Here is one that I noticed on Amazon: click here for pricing for the Stageek floor cord protector.
- What you can do is to pass the charger cable through a garage door and shut the garage door while charging. again I would suggest that you use a floor cord protector so that you do not damage the cable. is the cable cord is not long enough to reach the electrical outlet within the garage what you can do is add an extension cord to it. Just making sure that it’s a heavy-duty extension cord so that you get to full charge.
- Another way to protect your charging cable is to use a padlock with an extra-long shackle. the first step is to pull the cable behind the front tire and then to gather both sides of the cable and lock the ends together using the padlock.
- Some SAE J1772 EV plugs have a small hole near the button that is used to unplug the plug from the car. I read online that some people just use a small luggage type padlock or one that is stronger such as a MASTELOCK ( click to see the 178D master lock on Amazon). it’s a simple solution although sometimes it’s well hidden within the instructions for your electric vehicle.
How are cables stolen on a Tesla
It seems strange to me that charging cables are able to be stolen in the first place especially from an expensive vehicle like a Tesla. I had to do a lot of research to find out how people were overriding the system at a charging station.
One technique that some criminals are using is more of a hacking technique that is used frequently. They call the charging company and I tell them that they need to have the charge dropped on their vehicle because it doesn’t seem to want to unlock.
I guess that you just give the company some sort of code that indicates which charging station needs to be unlocked. Once the charging station is disconnected, they can just basically walk away with the cable. It’s a scary thought but it does happen.
To me, it seems like a simple solution to deal with this hacking method. All that they need to do is to ask you to provide a password when you call a charging company such as ChargePoint.
If someone is not the owner of the car they will not know the code and of course, the charging station will continue to charge the vehicle without allowing it to be unlocked.
How to Lock Your Charging Station if in a Condo Building
This might sound a little bit Petty but there are people that are concerned about someone else is using their personal charging. Others might feel as if they’re being a little bit cheap and that they should allow another owner of a Tesla or similar vehicle to use their electricity that might cost just a few cents per hour.
However, if you are wanting to deal with someone that seems to be doing this on a repeat basis such as in a condo complex parking garage, one solution is to use a lockout tagout box for the station.
The best solution that I found online is to use an RFID lockout device. These are cards. They are read by the charging station which will then allow the current to flow. These card systems are more expensive than some types of lock-out boxes but they are used by many consumers.
Final Points on Charging Cable Safety
In conclusion, I feel that it’s important to protect your charging cable due to the cost.
You also could increase the amount of time that you were charging at home behind your garage door. Also, buy a relatively cheap padlock so that you can attempt to protect your cable when you’re using it at a charging station that is not at your home.
Good luck with your pursuit to protect your charging cable and also feel free to message me if you have any questions about my above tactics.