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EV Mythbusting: EVs Are Easier to Steal


Are Electric Cars More Vulnerable to Hacking?

Public hacking events have highlighted EVs being hijacked by sophisticated hackers. The implication seemed to be that EVs were particularly vulnerable to this kind of intrusion and theft.

More inviting to thieves?

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular every year—which also provides more opportunities for thieves to steal them. Some may think EVs are prime targets because of their value in the secondhand market, while others say EVs are more challenging to steal because of their design.

So, who’s right in this debate? Here’s a guide on EVs and their vulnerability on the street.

Are EVs Harder to Steal?

EVs are actually harder to steal than your conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) machine. Learn more about the factors that separate them from other vehicles.

Limited Access

For starters, finding EVs to steal is more difficult because they occupy a tiny share of the overall car market. According to Experian, there are 1.7 million EVs on the road in the United States. That number may seem high, but it pales in comparison to the 250 million ICE vehicles.

If a thief finds an EV, they need advanced hacking skills. Many EVs require the owner to authorize actions on their phone. For example, suppose someone wants to tow an EV. They would need the owner’s online permission, or else they won’t be able to do it.

Charging Locks

Charging creates vulnerabilities, but also has built-in protection

EVs need a while to charge. Most charging stations have Level 2 equipment, requiring between four and 10 hours for a full charge. Thieves could try to steal, but charging locks prevent them from disconnecting the charger because you need a card to release the cable. Plus, they risk electrocution if they cut the charging cable.

Keyless Ignition

If a thief somehow accesses your vehicle, they can’t hot-wire like they used to. Many EVs have keyless ignition, instead using a personal identification (PIN) or a password to start the car. You may need a key fob to turn on the vehicle. Without it, the EV will think somebody is trying to steal it and won’t turn the ignition.

How Can You Protect Your EV?

EVs are more challenging to steal than other machines. However, an intelligent thief can still drive off into the sunset. Here are three ways to protect your EV.

Garage Security

Many owners keep their EVs in the garage. This security measure is ideal, but you must secure the door for real peace of mind. A carjacker could resort to desperate tactics if they know your garage has a high-value vehicle.

Add manual locks or disable the emergency release trigger to strengthen security. Manual locks add heavy-duty protection, and eliminating the emergency release trigger removes one of the thief’s entry points.

Anti-theft Devices

Cunning thieves may find their way into your garage, or you may need to leave your car in the driveway. Use anti-theft devices to deter criminals from stealing your EV. For example, you can use locks to immobilize your steering wheel and brakes. A loud alarm system is an effective deterrent because thieves prefer silent crimes.

GPS Tracking

The odds are low, but someone could successfully steal your EV and hit the road. In case that happens, you can help yourself and law enforcement by having a GPS device installed. For example, telematics devices track your car and send alerts to your phone. Many fleet owners use this technology for asset recovery and monitoring driver safety.

Protecting EVs From Theft

Car theft has risen annually over the past four years. National Insurance Crime Bureau data shows criminals stole over 1 million vehicles in 2022, the highest mark since 2008. EVs are popular cars on the market and while they’re harder to steal, you can use these tactics to protect your EV from theft.

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is the Founder and managing editor of Modded, where he writes about EVs, auto news and similar topics. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work!

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