New Tech, Old Problem | God's World News
New Tech, Old Problem
News Shorts
Posted: June 12, 2024
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    EV charging stations such as this one face a rise in cable theft. (AP/Lekan Oyekanmi)
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    Many EV charging stations sit in remote corners of parking lots, making theft harder to spot. (AP/Lekan Oyekanmi)
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Many automakers believe electric vehicles are the future. But there’s an age-old obstacle: theft.

Not car theft. Car charger theft.

It’s 2:00 a.m. in Seattle, Washington. A pickup truck pulls up to an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Two men get out. They carry bolt cutters. A security camera records them snipping the charging cables. They toss the cables in their truck and drive away. The whole theft takes less than three minutes.

Across the United States, these cable crimes are growing common.

Electrify America runs many of the United States’ car charging stations. Two years ago, the company found about one cut cable every six months. This year, thieves have already stolen 129 of the company’s cables. That’s already more than all of last year. Other companies report a similar rise in theft.

Why steal charging cables? It’s all about the copper inside them. Copper prices hit a record high this year. The metal sells for nearly $5.20 per pound. At scrap yards, thieves can make up to $20 per cable. With enough cables, that money adds up.

But after a theft, charging station owners need to replace more than copper. They need to replace the whole cable. Each one costs about $1,000.

“They’re not just taking one,” says police sergeant Robert Carson of Houston, Texas. He leads a unit focused on stopping metal theft. When charging stations are hit, “they’re hit pretty hard.”

Cable theft also creates a headache for drivers.

Roy Manuel drives an electric car. Thieves stole cables from his usual charging station. He worries about what might happen if he can’t charge his car.

“If [my battery] was so low that I couldn’t get to another charger, I might be in trouble,” he says. “Might even need a tow truck.”

Some people say they won’t buy EVs at all because they are concerned about running out of power. Many U.S. adults say they don’t know where to find a charging station. That makes it hard for automakers to sell EVs. Charging cable theft could discourage customers too.

Police say that EV drivers can help prevent these crimes. Sergeant Carson urges them to watch for suspicious people near chargers.

“If . . . you see a gas-powered vehicle, a truck, at a charging station, that probably doesn’t belong there,” he says.

He also urges charging stations to install more cameras. Chargers often sit in remote corners of parking lots. Thieves easily go unnoticed.

New technologies can solve all sorts of problems. But even new tech must deal with the old problem of human greed. That’s not an issue science can solve. Only God can change a heart. His power doesn’t require a charging station!

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. — Ephesians 4:28