Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Nationwide See Increase in Vandalism, Theft

June 14, 2024
In Houston, police had received no word of cable thefts until just a month ago. Since then, they’ve responded to eight or nine such cases.

Access to electric vehicle charging may have just run into another obstacle as thieves have begun to steal charging cables for the copper they’re composed of, reports the Citrus County Chronicle.

It’s an issue that’s being seen across the nation, with reports of people clipping charging cables from their stations in areas of Nevada, California, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

It’s something that’s only recently picked up traction as well. In Houston, police had received no word of cable thefts until just a month ago. Since then, they’ve responded to eight or nine such cases. The issue isn’t exclusive to urban areas, with rural Sumner, Washington, seeing two incidents of cable theft at a Puget Sound Energy charging station.

In late May, demand for copper hit a record high as a push grows for more copper wiring in EVs to reduce their carbon emissions. It’s presented an easy opportunity for thieves: charging stations, which are typically tucked away in corners of parking lots, and their cables that contain copper. 

However, those who steal these cables aren’t raking in a fortune. They typically go for around $15 to $20 a piece. It hasn’t deterred theft, but has only motivated thieves to steal large quantities of them at a time, wrecking havoc to EV drivers in need.

With the cost to replace a charging cable being a round $1,000 each, charging companies are taking action to try and curb these thefts. 

Electrify America, which operates the second-largest network of direct-current fast chargers in the U.S., is working on installing more security cameras at its sites–something Sgt. Robert Carson, leader of a police metal-theft unit in Houston, noted as being the most effective precaution.

About the Author

Ratchet+Wrench Staff Reporters

The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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