Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: July 8, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini
Spain flag

Copper theft in chargers: Elon Musk anticipates and resolves the eMobility challenge

Following numerous reports of vandalism at charging stations and cable thefts, both manufacturers and Charge Point Operators (CPOs) are actively seeking a solution that Tesla has already implemented. What does it involve?
Copper theft in chargers: Elon Musk anticipates and resolves the eMobility challenge

Reus, Tarragona, Baix Penedès and Bages are some of the regions that have been affected by the theft of cables from chargers in recent months.

A problem that is also observed outside Spain, in places such as the Netherlands and Germany, where they suffer from these acts of vandalism that generally occur at night.

The motivation is to steal the copper found inside the hoses, whose market value can reach 30 euros.

What solution did Tesla implement from the beginning to prevent these thefts?

“Superchargers have an added advantage in terms of security, since many of them are under video surveillance,” Elis Álvarez González assures Mobility Portal España.

For example, the expert points out that radars used to measure speed on motorways contain more copper than devices used to charge electric cars, but are rarely stolen. 

Elis Álvarez González, CEO of Smart Wallboxes.

Why? Because of the constant presence of surveillance cameras next to them.

However, the charging stations lack adequate protection, which makes it easy for someone to “come along, cut the hose and take it away” at night.

Since the cable does not carry current until the vehicle is connected, it is very easy to cut and can be divided in any desired manner.

This is the main reason for its theft, since the commercial value of the material is not high.

While the investment that charging point operators (CPOs) must make for the repair of the equipment is more than 1,000 euros, reaching 8,000 euros in some cases.

It would also be effective to implement alarm systems with sound and optical devices that would be activated in the event of attempted theft or vandalism.

And the security system is not the only advantage that Tesla users have

These devices are also located in strategic locations, such as closed, protected areas or in private areas, such as hotels and restaurants.

Not only does this benefit users of Elon Musk‘s chargers, but it also represents an opportunity for these establishments.

The reason is that drivers who stop to recharge usually come in to consume, generating additional income.

“Tesla has been a pioneer in creating installations designed and conceived to prevent these situations , mainly because they cannot leave equipment of this value in remote locations without surveillance,” says the expert.

This has recently led to private locations becoming the preferred choice for CPOs.

This is reflected in the significant investments being made to secure tenders for these locations.

Its attractiveness is enhanced by the high flow of vehicles and people who visit them, which provides great visibility to the brand.

Importantly, by protecting its devices, Tesla provides security to its customers by ensuring that they are always available and operational.

“There is no need to worry about finding a charger, as there is basically no problem of not knowing if it will be operational, if it is occupied, if it has been vandalized, if the hose has been cut or other inconveniences,” he says.

Across the country, Musk’s company already has more than 50 Supercharger stations and nearly 400 individual charging points.

These are added to the total number installed nationwide, which currently amounts to 41,067 devices, of which 8,645 are out of service, leaving 32,422 operational.

According to the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (ANFAC), Spain remains in third-to-last place with a score of 7.6 at European level, only surpassing the Czech Republic (5.8) and Hungary (3.7).

Nevertheless, it shows an advance of 0.9 points compared to the last edition of the Electromobility Barometer.

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