The expansion of electric vehicle adoption has accelerated in the last years, this change in transportation has raised challenges for EV charging providers. With the main concern being the need to grow charging infrastructure across the country. In addition to making charging stations accessible to all EV drivers in convenient locations, another big challenge for the industry is dealing with acts of vandalism to charging property. Although experts are mixed on the reasons behind the vandalism, all agree it’s a serious problem that needs immediate attention.
With EVs becoming more popular every day, new EV infrastructure, such as charging stations, are being expanded. So, it’s important to understand the challenges charging operators are facing that affect EV drivers. For instance, charging cords being cut off at charge ports across the country.
A New Challenge for EV Adoption
Incidents of vandalism have begun to pop up across the nation. And drivers are expressing their dismay in online communities and manufacturer websites. For example, charging cords are being found cut, rendering the charge port useless. Sometimes, even at charging stations that have been open only a few days.
A brand-new Tesla Supercharging station in Oakhurst, CA was hit in February. The new station opened with 8 brand new high-speed V3 Supercharger stalls. In each one, the cable was purposely cut off as close to the base as possible. The vandals acted while no one was there. And though Teslas’ come with a built-in dashcam and Sentry Mode security, so far no one has come forward with evidence. The same thing happened in Cincinnati at the Oakley Meijer in May. Twice in one week, vandals cut the charging cords close to the base. Which left drivers who came to charge their vehicles confused and angry. Moreover, a California charger located at a non-profit organization was vandalized on Earth Day. Further showing that these acts are sadly intentional offenses.
Why are Cords Being Vandalized?
The number one theory is that thieves are stealing the copper inside the cords. Aaron Cunningham, owner of EVentures Rentals said, “There [in Cincinnati] it’s most likely a copper thief trying to make a quick buck on the cabling.” According to CopperAlliance.org, Charging cords contain 0.7 kg of copper (for a 3.3 kW charger). Or 8 kg (for a 200 kW charger), between 1.5 and 2 pounds per cord. Copper has been fluctuating between $4.50 and $3.74 per pound. Which equals about $7.65 per charge point, a pay day of over $60 plus for each charging station hit.
Vandals can make hundreds of dollars a week depending on how many stations they hit. With inflation and the price of gas reaching all-time highs, more EVs are expected on the road. Which means requiring more charging stations to support EV drivers. However, this could represent more desperate people and more opportunities to steal.
Another Reason for the Damage?
Unfortunately, these acts could also be due to plain meanness. A couple reported having the cord they used to charge their Chevy Bolt cut. And they believe their angry neighbor was “trying to send a message.” Some vandals have even stuffed raw meat into chargers to destroy them!
The question remains about who could be responsible for these hate crimes. For example, there are many people who rely on gas and coal industries for their employment and might feel threatened. Also, those who dislike environmentalists, or the new sustainability practices being promoted. Finally, it could be those who dislike the Tesla Corporation and stand against EVs. This is the main suspected reason behind vandalism in California. Cunningham states, “In California, it looked more like an act of vandalism. They didn’t cut the entire cable off like you would if you were to sell the copper. They cut it right in the center, probably because they just don’t like Tesla.”
While reasons may vary, we need to increase awareness to stop vandalism soon. So far, charging stations rarely have video security and are almost never manned, but all that may change soon as consumer anger and owner financial losses mount in the face of charging cord vandalism.
The Importance of Caring for Charging Stations
First, we must understand that the future of green technology is not only healthier for the planet and its residents, but more high-tech than old, higher polluting options. Electric vehicles represent a switch to clean energy in the transportation industry. Promoting EV adoption and steering away from polluting transport is key for our communities to fight climate change.
Moreover, some of the effects of pollution, such as depleting the ozone layer, affect both environmental and human health. Emissions from traditional gas-powered vehicles cause air pollution. Which causes acid rain, kills crops, animals, and is often the result of the destruction of forest land. EVs are better for the environment, they produce no tailpipe emissions or air pollutants. This is the reason we must advocate for electric transportation and maintain our charging stations safe. We must work together to educate local communities about EVs and their long-term benefits to our neighborhoods.
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