Electric vehicle charging cable theft is on the rise

Published 11 March 2021

Charging cable theft is on the rise, with thieves selling the must-have EV equipment for up to £200 a time.

“With more people going green and choosing electric cars over petrol and diesel, there are more charging cables available for thieves to target,” says Divert spokesman Mark Hall.

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The rubbish removal company noted that car chargers are particularly appealing to thieves because they can be sold for up to £200 online and to scrap dealers. 

Divert says that while people may be used to copper in telephone cables and lead from church roofs being targeted by thieves, the metal in electric car chargers is becoming increasingly sought after by thieves looking to make quick money.

Although many electric vehicles have systems in place that lock the charger into position to keep them secure, these measures aren’t fool-proof. Tesla owners, for example, have noticed this winter that the locking mechanism wouldn’t work due to the freezing weather, causing cables to become detached from their vehicles which made them easier to steal – according to reports from Electrek.

With the UK set to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and various carmakers announcing an electric-only model range in the near future - there’s been an undeniable shift in the number of drivers looking for hybrid and electric vehicles.

And, just as happened with keyless theft, a new type of crime is on the rise – the theft of car charging cables.

A total of 108,205 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the UK in 2020, representing a 180 per cent year-on-year increase.


Engineer Andy    on 11 March 2021

Not really a surprise, and will only get worse if people living in flats, terraced houses etc with no garage/driveway and their car has to be charged away from their property via a communal charging unit, epsecially ones in the street or having to run a cable across a pathway back to the home.

Asking for trouble.

None of the greenies or powers that be have taken note on such issues (as well as being able to charge it at all/pay for facilities to be set up for flat blocks, etc, especially as most own the land and thus would have to be a small fortune to lay new power cables/connect to the network, road and ground works.

Not as though we're all flush with cash at the moment, nor will we be for some time thanks to the lockdowns.

BOB 1    on 11 March 2021

I had thought that this is a crime waiting to be committed, as there doesn't seem to be any system of plugging in securely!!!

Mr Dave    on 11 March 2021

No evidence or statistics quoted, only hearsay. This is just scaremongering, plain and simple.
Type 2 charging cables lock both at the car charging port and at the wall box so the thief would have to cut the charging cable to remove it.
This just isn’t news worth reporting.

jchinuk    on 12 March 2021

Just to point out that signalling and power cables associated with railways are regular targets for thieves, so cutting a few EV charging cables is quite likely.

Electricians use special gloves to handle "live" cables.

conman    on 12 March 2021

My catalytic converter was bolted to my car but they still nicked that. good luck with your EV. I will not be purchasing them until they are reasonably priced and do a lot more miles. The problem with EV owners now is in a few years time who will want to buy a car that only does 100-120 miles on a charge already 250 -300 milers are now being made.

Engineer Andy    on 12 March 2021

Given how often phone and even railway electrical cables get nicked - both of which are far more difficult and dangerous to do, I suspect that stealing car power cables will be rife if the government continues to push the sale of EVs. Lots of easy opportunities for many thieves.

Cornflakes    on 11 March 2021

I have a VW GOLF GTE the power cable and it can be removed. The plug is a standard 13amp dual outside socket waterproof. If I lock the socket up its only a hammer and steel spike and the box is in bits. Cable gone. Anyone and good ideas.

Chris Emsworth

Johnno431    on 11 March 2021

Let’s hope that the threat of electrocution will deter the tea-leaves.

J. Mike Rose    on 11 March 2021

Not really they will just short it out and the MCB &/or the RCD will trip out.

Les Boris    on 12 March 2021

Thanks for the tip , LOL

Engineer Andy    on 12 March 2021

Let’s hope that the threat of electrocution will deter the tea-leaves.

It hasn't deterred copper cable thieves from the railways and London Underground.

Andrew Buck    on 12 March 2021

Not quite related but to do with charging - watched interesting Youtube report by a guy doing a two hour journey in a Audi electric car. What came out of the report was very damming for electric cars in that the journey took over 5 hours because of having to stop to recharge car, that was not all the big problem was finding a charger, next was having the right app on mobile phone to make payment. The guy had 5 different Apps on phone as every charger requires almost a unique App to allow payment.

He pointed out that the most difficult part of charging is the payment method is's like the old Beta Max VHS wars all over again and it's us the EV users that are suffering. After watching the report I will not be ditching my oil burner diesel until they sort this mess out and make charging up compatible to filling up with diesel in terms of time.

Anne Johnstone    on 12 March 2021

Maybe that's the real plan. Driving will become so impossible that we will all have to cycle or take the train.

I think that current loss of freedom due to Covid will be nothing compared to our loss of freedom to drive that is definitely coming.

Engineer Andy    on 12 March 2021

Not just that - make the whole ownership of them only for the well-heeled. Back to pre-WWI times for car ownership.

Nigel John Edwards    on 12 March 2021

When are politicians, journalists and the motoring public going to realise we are at least 5 years off the electric car being viable as an everyday means of transport unless you do short journeys? Electric cars are very expensive to buy, not nearly as environmental friendly as the pro lobby would have you believe. Where does all this electricity come from? Out of thin air!? At no cost!? How are the majority of people who live in flats, terraced houses etc etc going to charge their cars? As soon as you get out on a derestricted road your range plummets!! Try towing a boat or a trailer or a caravan with an electric car!! As soon as the battery warrantee expires no one can afford to buy the car as a new battery will be £5-£8k! Tesla doesnt take part exchange even its own cars- I wonder why? If every car was electric noone mentions lorries ,buses, even vans as being much bigger polluters and little chance of a 40 ton lorry being recharged in 30 minutes!!Hydrogen is much more likely to be the answer. Politicians who are London centric dont need cars as they can use the tube, the bus, the bicycle, the taxi. Try living on Exmoor or mid Wales etc - where is the charging point within 50 miles? We cannot afford to fill potholes let alone provide charging points everywhere. And the charging points there are are often out of order, vandalised or being used. Get a grip. Wake up and get real.

jchinuk    on 12 March 2021

Around 15 or more years ago there was a hydrogen re-fuelling station not far from me, as part of Transport for London's hydrogen-fuelled bus experiment. It's long gone now, but faced a lot of local opposition. As soon as you mention hydrogen the media prints pictures of the Hindenberg crashing in flames.

I can see hydrogen being used for larger trucks, but I think it's electricity for cars.

conman    on 12 March 2021

We need more people like you to air their grievances to their MP's but good old Brits shut up and puts up.

I have complained to the Highways agency and to my MP. So come on if you can write to Honest John bombard your MP.

ACT    on 12 March 2021

I have owned and used an EV for 3 years now and the only issue I have had was a malfunctioning charger so I rang Ecotricity and within a couple of minutes they had the charger working by remotely enabling it. At all other times I have just planned my route around the charging points, found on zap-map.com, I need a' coffee and a p' after 2 hours driving so 40 minutes later I am on the road again!
As soon as I saw this report I thought here we are; giving would be thieves new targets! But seriously, I think the manufacturers didn't think this through. It would be a simple change to have the input socket under the bonnet allowing room for the bulky plug and then a small round hole in the join between bonnet and car body to allow the cable to pass. now safe and secure and connected to high voltage not what a 2 second thief wants to experience.
Bear in mind the build costs of the ICE V electric reputedly an ICE has some 20,000 moving parts - the electric motor has 20! Battery technology has improved dramatically many options no longer using precious metals, but even the cost of a Nissan battery pack has dropped hugely in just the past 3 years and most batteries no longer suitable for the' range' of an EV are used in storage units etc.
Yes Hydrogen is for the Future but we are living in the Present! I live on a hillside road and the amount of filthy diesel particulates which permeate the house is 'seriously' harmful.

Hydrogen systems have to be adapted for today - to try and build infrastructure throughout the whole of the UK is an impossible and very costly option, better to fuel the power stations than the actual cars themselves - and safer! Shell are funding a whole offshore wind farm to produce hydrogen which will be piped ashore for such 'centrally based uses' - we already have infrastructure for electricity !!
In discussions I have found that most of the 'anti lobby' have never actually driven an EV or given thought to the overall aspect - but theorise profoundly.

BrendanP    on 12 March 2021

Have you ever stopped to think about that assertion that internal combustion engines have 20,000 moving parts and wondered, does that sound right? I seriously doubt that if I took the engine of my car apart I would find 20,000 parts, let alone parts that move and are subject to wear. What matters is how many parts are likely to wear out or break, and what would it cost to fix? My partner's Hyundai diesel has covered 210,000 miles and other than 2 aux drive belts, no parts on the engine have been replaced.

When it comes to long journeys, I don't need to stop for 40 minutes every two hours. Whenever I travel from East Midlands to Inverness, I stop once at Carlisle to fuel up, grab a bite to eat and use the toilet. One stop of 25 minutes. If and when I want to stop is my choice, it's not imposed on me by the limitations of my car. The only demand it makes on me is to stop for 5 minutes every 550 miles to refuel.

stephen heath    on 13 March 2021

Hello THE THIEVES WILL THEN CUT THE CABLE AT THE ENTRY TO CAR bonnet sorry for caps button stuck

willywonker    on 12 March 2021

In defence of electric cars, we have had a Hyundai Kona for 18 months. Agreed the charging cable is vulnerable to theft. That is why we paid extra to have the charging point fitted inside our garage.
We get about 250 miles range in the Winter and 300 in the Summer. Up to now we have not used a public charger. Our longest trip has been 130 miles mostly motorway to visit our son. We might have been able to return home without further charging, but as a precaution we plugged in to his ring main socket for a few hours before returning home.
Economy of running and mileage costs is 1/4 to 1/3 of internal combustion costs.
Apart from the environmental and financial argument for electric vehicles they are so wonderfully easy and silent to drive. I know I shall never purchase another internal combustion car.

aethelwulf    on 12 March 2021

It is clear that government will foist these EVs on us to tick their box and look good on the world stage. Cost and inconvenience is immaterial to politicians.
Just as cats are stolen , especially on hybrids, so now cables will be stolen. So clear out the junk from your garage and get the car in there to charge it. My objection to EV? The sheer cost of a new one as compared to the ICE car. I would delay any purchase as improvements will be made over time and the charging structure probably will improve as capitalism realises there is money to be made. Whether there will be sufficient electricity to actually meet the demands is another issue but we have standby generators for this - all powered by diesel!!!

conman    on 12 March 2021

My catalytic converter was bolted to my car but they still nicked that. good luck with your EVs. I will not be purchasing them until they are reasonably priced and do a lot more miles. The problem with EV owners now is in a few years time who will want to buy a car that only does 100-120 miles on a charge when already 250 -300 milers are now being made.

alan willison    on 12 March 2021

Here’s an out of the box idea - as electric has so many benefits, how about taking a slightly different approach and equipping vehicles with a small nuclear reactor to power the electric motor? Likely take up less space than the current battery pack and the fuel cell may never require replenishment or changing as the demands on it would be tiny.

conman    on 12 March 2021

I have complained to the Highways agency and to my MP.

So come on if you can write to Honest John bombard your MP.

If you have a problem regarding these EVs and the charging infrastructure, I mean Non- infrastructure start emailing them it's their job to represent YOU not the other way round.

Anne Johnstone    on 12 March 2021

and more importantly will we even have enough electricity to cope !!

Linsoo    on 12 March 2021

My opinion is that EV vehicles are going to be the way forward
I think that wireless charging technology will solve the home and work cable issues.
I presume that something like rapid boosting stations will appear where traditional fuel stations gradually die out over the years .
I have driven EV's, quite liked them, but wouldn't buy/pcp/lease one right now until the charging infrastructure and EV range improve.
With regards to range, my old Previa used to manage 300 miles to a very large tank and took 10 minutes and £100 to fill up. I don't think it will be too long before EV battery and technology equals this, but for £10.
With regards to costs. I think that stats show that most brand new cars are 'owned' under a leasing/pcp scheme, meaning the monthly 'rental' is the key figure, not the list price.

barney100    on 14 March 2021

I think hang on until I am forced to buy an electric car and hope that they have ironed out the problems with owning them, cost, range anxiety, deteriorating battery performance like your mobile phone. Why are we in the Uk aiming to stop selling ICE by 2030? check out what other countries are doing, France 2040, China no plans etc etc.

Steve Retter    on 16 March 2021

How many new power stations will be required to meet demand of every car on road being an EV. Most likely will have to nucleur which does sound very green to me.

Diane Booth    on 19 March 2021

Toyota solid state battery is here folks and reportedly c900miles per charge. Hydrogen engines are coming out of research, this tech produces the hydrogen as needed, no need for fuelling. Hybrids will still be available in 2030 but expect a few years later to see new innovation.
Ref the article, thieves will find a way to nick anything. Manufacturers need to start using smart ID so stolen ones can be traced/found. GPS might also be useful. But since there's been a human population, there's always been thieves :(

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