Watts the Problem? EV Chargers Under Attack by Copper-Hungry Crooks

Owlie Productions / shutterstock.com
Owlie Productions / shutterstock.com

So, picture this: you roll up to the electric vehicle charging station ready to juice up your ride, only to discover that some genius has gone all Edward Scissorhands on the charging cables. Yep, it’s like pulling into a gas station and finding out all the hoses are MIA.

A Bay Area Supercharger with several stalls was completely rendered useless after someone sliced the cables off of each individual charging station. Talk about a shock to the system! Josh Becker, who recorded the virtual video, said he stumbled upon the sight on his way to the gym. Taking out his phone, he recorded a video while walking down the row of 20 stations, pointing out that every charging cable connecting power to the electric vehicles had been cut.

Becker said at first glance, it may seem like a protest or a symbol of activism. He believes that thieves are targeting charging stations because of the copper inside them. He said that they are recycling the copper and getting cash from that.

So, what’s the going rate for the copper located in a Tesla charging cords? Well, turns out, those sleek supercharging cables are worth a pretty penny. Thanks to the copper inside, they’re ripe for scrapping and selling. According to Recycling Today, each Tesla charger contains around 2.2 pounds of copper, which amounts to approximately $9.18 per cable, multiplied by 20 stations. So, if our enterprising culprit snipped all those cords for a quick buck, they probably pocketed an extra $183.60. The Tesla charging station in the Bay Area was not the only one targeted.

Recently, there has been a surge in vandalism of Tesla charging stations across the United States, from Washington to Texas. According to reports, last week was a field day for cable-cutting bandits at the Kipling Street Tesla Supercharger. Eighteen out of nineteen charging stations had their cords sliced clean and swiped. Thieves also cut the charging cables in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earlier this year.

Naturally, folks like Alex Longo, just passing through on their journey, were less than thrilled. “Yeah, I’d be pretty upset about that,” he quipped. You think? Imagine being stranded with a dead battery because of some copper-hungry crook.

These Superchargers aren’t just your average power outlets; they’re like the adrenaline shot in “Pulp Fiction” for electric vehicles. Delivering a whopping 250kW at 500 DC volts, they pack enough punch to power three American homes. Now that’s some serious juice!

But before you go thinking you’ve stumbled upon a deadly electric fence, fear not. Cameron Trial, EV repair expert, assures us that the cables aren’t live until they buddy up with your car.

So, who’s behind this electric mayhem? Cameron’s got a theory: it’s either a hardcore anti-EV activist or just some folks with a thirst for copper. In Houston, stealing copper isn’t exactly a new hobby. The police even have a whole unit dedicated to it.

Of course, there is also another theory floating around online: revenge for Tesla’s massive layoffs. It’s no secret that earlier this month, Tesla unexpectedly dismissed the team responsible for its electric vehicle charging business.

Tesla’s vehicles have been popular partly because of the company’s extensive “Supercharger” network. Until recently, only Tesla vehicles could use this network. However, a lack of charging infrastructure has been a significant barrier to more widespread use of electric vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk invited other car makers to use his system. Because of his invitation, virtually every major US automaker has committed to making EVs compatible with Tesla’s charging technology, now known as the North American Charging Standard.

The layoffs are casting doubt on the future of one of the largest US charging networks, now intended for use by other carmakers like GM and Ford. As if Tesla’s problems weren’t enough, now they have to deal with cord-cutting crooks on top of their internal drama. Maybe the vandals just wanted to give a farewell gift to their old employers – talk about cutting ties with style. Or perhaps it’s all about the copper, with these thieves eyeing a quick payday. Either way, it’s a shocking mess that Tesla needs to clean up.