Can a stranger "steal" my energy or use my EV charger?
25th Sep 2020 Danny Morgan
Having an electric car charger installed at your home may raise concerns that anybody with an electric car can use it. Our editor Danny Morgan explains why that is very unlikely and how you can protect against this issue.
Installing a home charger for your electric car or plug-in hybrid is a brilliant choice. Take it from me - home charging is more convenient and faster than a domestic socket, and safer, plus it can help you save money if you switch to the right energy tariff.
But we often get asked about the security of the charger. Can somebody take the cable? Could a stranger park up and charge their electric car? And other similar questions.
All valid concerns, but I am here to explain why it's very unlikely to happen. You can read the reasons below or watch this short video from our YouTube friend EVMan who explains in his own style why it's not a problem you need to worry about.
Reasons why your charger won't be "borrowed"
Charging schedules are your friend
All smart EV chargers allow you to set a time when your car will start charging and when it will stop. If you use this function, this means your car could be plugged in but it won't charge until the time you have set. The same goes for any unscrupulous EV drivers wanting to steal your electricity - they would need to use your charger (without someone noticing) at the exact times your charging schedule is due to kick in.
For example, you might set your charging schedule to begin at 12.30am and finish by 4am. In this scenario, an "energy thief" would need to plug in their vehicle between these hours to get any charge. As you can imagine, the chances of this are very low.
Choose a charger with a "lock"
If you are still concerned and want some added security, some car chargers have a lock function. This isn't a physical lock as such, but it will prevent any charge occurring if set. For example, the Wallbox Pulsar Plus has this feature which can be accessed via the app.
Time to charge
Charging an electric car isn't exactly a speedy process. So, assuming the "energy thief" manages to plug without your knowledge, they won't be having a quick getaway. They will need to sit with the car while it charges at 7.4kW (adding around 30 miles an hour).
As EVMan mentions in his video above, there is a risk/reward situation for any thief. They will normally target high value that do not require much time or thought to retrieve. In other words, the exact opposite of your car charger which is difficult to get at and use, and the energy dispensed is cheap.
Electric cars are few and far between
It is true electric cars are rapidly increasing in popularity, but they still represent a small percentage of the overall market. This in itself makes the prospect of somebody using your car charger without your knowledge very unlikely.
It's all too much hassle
For your home car charger to be used without permission, a lot of things need to happen:
1. The "energy thief" will need to own an electric car.
2. They will also need to know that you own an EV and also have a charger at home.
3. They will then need to access your driveway and charger without you or the neighbours noticing.
4. They need to be plugged in at the right time.
5. They need to wait a few hours to get a decent charge.
All of this begs the question - who could be bothered with all of that just to get a free charge at someone elses cost?
We hope that helps reassure you. If you have any further questions, please give us a call or email.