Cars

Real-Life Examples of Why It’s So Hard to Steal a Tesla — and One Who Got Away

When someone says Tesla, you might think about its electric cars or its semi-autonomous driving prototypes or even its infamous CEO, Elon Musk. However, one thing that Tesla excels at that many people don’t give it enough credit for is its incredible security features.

Indeed, these advanced electric cars are incredibly hard to steal. Here are 3 real-life examples of when stealing a Tesla went wrong and 1 example of thieves who did the impossible.

Tesla’s security features

Tesla’s security features are as advanced as its cars are. The results are that of the 115 Teslas that were reported stolen from 2011 to 2018, 112 were successfully recovered. That’s a recovery rate of about 97.3%. That is significantly better than the average recovery rate for all stolen vehicles in the U.S., which was 58.4% in 2016.

This high recovery rate is due to the immense security suite that Tesla offers. From features like PIN to drive, sentry mode, and car tracking through the app, Tesla owners can rest assured that thieves will have a hard time getting away with the crime.

Real-life examples

Earlier this year, a Tesla was sitting at a supercharging station in Payson, Arizona when a woman somehow managed to get into and steal the car. The police were notified and they started chasing the stolen Tesla. The cops tried to use road spikes to stop the Tesla, but the spikes didn’t work. Eventually, while on the highway, the Tesla ran out of juice. This allowed the police to safely apprehend the suspect.

Another incident from early 2019 involved a man breaking into and stealing a Tesla at a parking garage in Riverside, California. The owner was notified immediately through their app and they immediately told the police. The owner then continuously gave the police updates on where their Tesla was going with the help of Tesla’s app. 

The thief led the police on a chase through the city, but the police deemed the situation as too dangerous so they broke off from the chase. The thief then went onto the highway but the owner continued to provide updates to the police. On the highway, the chase resumed and the Tesla eventually ran out of juice, thus allowing the cops to catch the car thief. 

Another incident this year happened in San Francisco, California and it features Tesla’s brand-new sentry mode technology. Sentry mode uses the Tesla’s 360-degree camera system to help prevent and track thieves and vandals. Sentry mode was released earlier this year and it already proved its worth in this case. 

The Tesla owner was enjoying his day when the app notified him that sentry mode had been activated. When he returned to his Tesla, he found that his windows were broken. Upon reviewing the footage captured from sentry mode, he was able to help the police catch the would-be thief. 

The many that got away

However, Teslas aren’t invulnerable. In Europe, Tesla thieves have been extremely successful. These thieves hacked into Teslas with a sophisticated system and were usually able to get away with it. Most stolen Teslas were then scrapped for parts and thus, most weren’t ever recovered. 

These high-tech car thieves used Tesla’s advanced technologies against it. Apparently, the thieves exploited the convenient features that the Teslas had to break into the cars. Fortunately for current and future Tesla owners, because those thieves exploited Tesla’s software, Tesla has since fixed the holes in its cars’ security systems. Thus, the method that those thieves used should no longer work. 

That said, no security system is perfect and thieves will continue to find new ways to steal a car. But right now, if you don’t want your car stolen, a Tesla seems to be your best bet.