Electric and hybrid cars are being hailed as the greener alternative to petrol and diesel cars. They are now becoming increasingly likely to be targeted by thieves for exactly what sets them apart from their less environmentally friendly counterparts, their batteries. Of course, cars that run on all types of energy are susceptible to theft, but batteries are pricy and can be removed in around twenty minutes by those skilled enough to remove it. Once removed, reports have been made that they have been sold on for $1000 dollars (approximately £650) on the black market to buyers who cannot be sure how many miles has been driven on the battery. Prius batteries are not marked with a serial number which makes it difficult to contain the issue of the batteries being sold on.
San Francisco has reported a growing trend in the number of hybrid car battery thefts and a Toyota dealership is quoted to have replaced “quite a few” Toyota Prius batteries. In the United Kingdom, a replacement Toyota Prius battery is estimated to cost around £800 outside of warranty.
It is estimated that as electric and hybrid vehicles become more popular, batteries targeted for theft will increase. It does seem like manufacturers are aware of the potential for theft however, as the Tesla Model S has a battery which weighs 450kg, making it nearly impossible for thieves to quickly break into the car to steal it. However, door handle failure is still an issue with the Tesla Model S, with reports saying that the car’s sensors were not recognising the key fob. 1,278 Tesla Model S cars were surveyed and 42 of those cars either had problems with latches and locks or door handles.
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