Like all cars, electric vehicles and PHEVs come with accessories and the most important of these has to be the portable EV charging cable. This is required to connect the electric vehicle to the supply equipment (EVSE), the function of which is to supply electricity to recharge the vehicles. EVSE’s are also known as EV charging stations, electric recharging points or just charging points and of course the whole system includes the cable itself.
Charging cables are highly vulnerable to theft and vandalism and the reporting of innumerable theft of cables in recent times is a testament to this. For example, the fragile locking mechanism of an EV like Nissan Leaf makes it easy for thieves to unlock the latch quickly and take it away. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Cables are an expensive accessory to replace and, where such replacement is necessary, buying this equipment at the relevant vehicle dealership could cost up to £1,600. No motorists need that kind of unjustified expense these days, so it’s better to protect the cable from the outset than to regret it later. As a handy guide here are some tips for easy and effective ways to secure your electric cable at public charging points.
The padlock as a security device has been around forever and there’s a good reason for that. Just the sight of one should deter all but the most determined thief. It’s possibly the easiest method of securing a charging cable and there are several ways to go about it.
- Buy a plastic sleeved chain and pass it around the EV charging cables and the spokes of the wheel; then fit the padlock by passing it through the hole in the plastic sleeve and one end link of the chain, lock it and secure your EVSE.
- Use a long shackle padlock and pass it through the hole in the cable’s plug or in the trigger (Type 1 connectors have a hole for the lock) and protect it from the people with malicious intentions.
- Pass a bight loop of the EV charging cable through the padlock and spokes of the front wheel and simply close the padlock.
- Buy a cord lock and use it in combination with a padlock to secure the EVSE. Use the pivots of the cord lock to secure the EVSE and then protect the cord lock from stealing with a padlock.
Remember that the car will also have towing points fore and aft which could also be used effectively. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
This option is viable for those who frequently charge at the work place or public charging points. For this, you need to get a heavy duty extension cable, 12-gauge or more, which have appropriate connectors at both ends and use it to charge your EV or PVSE. Plug the extension cord in the power source and put the other end in the boot or trunk of the car. Take out your EVSE unit and put it in the trunk and plug in the EVSE to the extension cord. Take out the connector and plug it into the charge port. Put the cables coming out of your boot together and close the hatch. The rubber will protect cables from damage and your EVSE will remain secure while your car is charging.
Park on the Cable:
Routine EV charging at home will mostly take care of everyday use but sometimes drivers can get caught out and it is necessary to charge at a public charging point. Without the added security of cable locking devices, the easiest way to protect the EVSE is to park the car on the cable. Before plugging in, lay the cable on the ground and roll the car forward so that a front or rear wheel is actually on the cable, leave a little slack and get on with the day while the car is charging.
This is an emergency procedure so don’t make a habit of parking on the cable as, potentially, damage is possible. As a serious option though, enterprising owners source a cable protector (the type used by professional trades people to protect pedestrians against trip hazards when passing extensions leads across pavements), and cut it into sections then simply put the cable beneath it before parking your car on it. A great idea as the protector can be kept to hand and used anywhere.
If a thief is absolutely determined to steal a cable at all costs it is hard to defend against it, just as it is with car theft. For the most part though, these straightforward ideas will ward off opportunistic stealing.