Are Electric Cars Harder to Steal?

It’s easy to assume you’ll never be the victim of car theft, but the unfortunate truth is that it can happen to anyone. With the rise of EVs, you might wonder if electric cars are harder to steal than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. The truth might surprise you.

Are electric cars harder to steal than gas-powered cars?

Are electric cars harder to steal?
An electric car charges at a public charging station | Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The short answer is yes. According to Jerry, EVs are much harder to steal than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. 

There are four primary reasons why. The first is that anyone who doesn’t have a personal identification number (PIN), security code, or key can’t drive your EV due to the electric ignition. That means all those action movies where the hero hot-wires a car won’t work on an electric vehicle. 

Speaking of cutting wires, no one can cut an EV’s charging cables without risking an electric shock that could kill them. For those who fear their vehicle could be stolen at a charging station, that means the chances aren’t nearly as high as you might think.

Other precautions prevent your EV from being stolen while recharging at a public station. For example, charging station locks use a card to release both ends of the cable. If a thief doesn’t have this card, they can’t remove the vehicle from the station.

Finally, EVs’ advanced security features aren’t easy to hack. The owner must authorize many tasks, such as towing an electric car

Those are all steps in the right direction to lower the rate of car theft, but nothing is entirely theft-proof.

Electric cars can still be stolen

Just because an electric car is more difficult to steal than an ICE car doesn’t mean an EV cannot be stolen. It just forces thieves to be more creative, as proven by the Tesla hack.

It came to light thanks to the keyless ignition. Many assumed that having no keys would make stealing a car less likely. That hasn’t proven to be the case.

Thieves have now discovered a way to trick EVs and other keyless-entry cars into believing the owner is nearby with their key fob or phone. And that’s all it takes. 

This hack mainly works on Tesla models because of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), but it can work on other systems that use it. A car thief simply needs a relay system to connect the BLE from your phone to your car.

Although that might sound alarming, a car thief won’t get far thanks to the ability to track your Tesla’s whereabouts in the Tesla app. You can also create a PIN that forces anyone trying to use the car to enter that number before driving off. If they don’t have it, your Tesla won’t go anywhere.

Tips to prevent car theft

No steps will 100% prevent car theft. Thankfully, most thieves are more interested in a quick getaway and will avoid hard-to-access cars in favor of vehicles that practically scream “steal me.”

Anti-theft devices can go a long way toward deterring thieves. They include alarms, GPS trackers, and ignition kill switches.

Also, keep your keys on you instead of leaving them in your car. A thief who finds the keys in your vehicle will be quick to steal it.

Finally, keep your valuables hidden. Your car might be the main attraction, but items such as electronics, jewelry, and tools will be temptations.

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