How to Avoid EV Charging Cable Theft

By Joni Finkle 05/17/2022 4:00pm

Close Up Of Charging Station With Cords

Welcome to the brave new world of electric car ownership — and did we mention your charging cable needs special protection from thieves? With electric vehicles and hybrid plug-ins sold in ever-increasing quantities, uncrewed charging stations create an opportunity for EV charger thievery. Much like catalytic converters, charging cables are full of valuable copper wire. A thief with a heavy-duty cable cutter and a local scrap metal yard connection can turn your cables into cash in quick order.

Since charger locking devices will only keep your cable safe from the occasional grab-n-go heist, we wanted to give you some strategies and ideas to protect your EV charging cable from theft.

Tips for Avoiding EV Charger Theft 

It’s become common sense not to leave computers and cell phones visible in your car where thieves may smash and grab them. In the same way, you need to practice caution when protecting your charging unit from theft. We’ve curated some tips to give you peace of mind and protect your charger from future theft.

1. Prevent Unplugs During Public Charging

Not only are thieves after your charging cord, but there is also a concern that your charging cable will be disconnected and used by others while you are away. The good news is that most automakers provide locking devices that will secure your plug-in its place when you close and lock your car doors. Or, in the case of Tesla’s at-home chargers (Gen 3), a firmware update makes your unit unusable by any other car — Tesla or not.

2. Aftermarket Cord Locking Products

Spend some time researching the various aftermarket cable locking devices and see which one might work for your charging situation. For example, a device made specifically for Tesla charger adapters is in the form of a simple ring that locks the adapter to the handle. You can also find loop-ended cord locks that can attach your cable to any number of solid surfaces around the charging site.

3. Use a Pad Lock

Padlock to use in case of EV cable theft

It may sound simple, but there are situations where a well-sized padlock can attach and lock your cable to a fence, your aluminum wheel, or an installed cable tether on the underside of your car. Another padlock application exists for the Nissan Leaf, which has a small hole under the “trigger” of the cable. A padlock that fits that hole will make it difficult for anyone to remove the cable when you leave your vehicle.

4. Plan to Charge at Home

Electric car and plug-in hybrid charging differ in every owner’s situation. For ongoing security, the best strategy is to do all your charging overnight at your own home. If the location of your charging station or plug sits outside, install a clearly-seen security camera. In the best situation, your car can charge inside your garage.

5. Use a Dashcam With a Movement Sensor

Just the presence of a dashcam can help deter thieves, but a camera that will record with movement sensors works even better. Dashcams can be wonky and leave exposed wires, so shop smartly. The value of a dashcam goes well beyond cable theft. Most importantly, you would have footage of the thievery, should it be disputed with your car insurer.

6. Keep Charging Cables Out of Sight

Metal Prevent Theft Sign

Smash-and-grab crimes happen more often when you leave valuable items within sight from your windows. Consider your charging cable one of those items, and always secure it away from view in your trunk or frunk.

7. Go One Step Further: Lock Your Cable Inside the Trunk

Trunk break-ins are among the more reported crimes in the United Kingdom, where electric cars and plug-ins are more plentiful than in the United States. In such cases, someone steals the charging cable and destroys the trunk. As a result, there are now traveling lockboxes available that can tether inside your trunk. In this scenario, two locks are needed — one for the lockbox and one for tethering the box to your trunk. If you find something that works inside your trunk or the cargo hold of your SUV, it may be worth the small investment to save the day if a trunk break-in happens to you.

Finding the right strategy to protect your valuable EV charger is essential. Companies are working to increase safeguards for chargers, but until then, protect your investment and find immediate solutions to this unfortunate reality.