Anti-theft Charging On Travels

Anti-theft Charging On Travels

Are there any anti-theft measure during charging when travelling long distances? Say you are stopping over at a motel by the highway, you plug in the $1000+ cable for over night charging on a parking lot. My concern is won't the cable be easily get stolen as they are very expensive (similar to copper metal thieves ripping valuable metal off buildings, etc.) and also the car can get vandalized, while it is still plugged in unattended on a motel parking lot? I am sure the cables plugged into a car attracts more attention for potential vandals and thieves. What are the security features implemented to prevent this scenario on long road trips in an unfamiliar area?

MikAo | August 24, 2011

First sorry for not reading all comments, someone might have had the same idea.
Tesla, why don´t you put a "hook" to the door close to charging port. When driver closes the doors, cable will go thru/below the hook and will be locked to the car and cannot be stolen without cutting the cable. Simple, easy and cheap without and additional gizmos. Please feel free to use the idea but remember to give me some additional extras for free in to my S model....

Volker.Berlin | August 24, 2011

Elon made a remark in some interview, something like "you won't be disappointed", as if the charge port on the Model S might provide similar wow-factor like those door handles... I am pretty curious what they have come up with, an I hope they have solved the problem in a particularly clever way (even though the charge port location is debatable). In the same way he mentioned that they want to keep some surprises for the final release, so maybe we won't learn the details before the cars are actually available in the stores...

Volker.Berlin | August 24, 2011

+d, for Brian H

Brian H | August 25, 2011

Heh, EdG; can you imagine the EMF-phobics if power was broadcast/transmitted thru the air? Exploding heads everywhere.

Not to mention the mobile phone meltdowns when people walked through the 'beams'.

Seriously, the losses of such transmission are a high price to pay. I predict limited or no implementation.

EdG | August 25, 2011

Back around 1980 I asked a new mother - wife of a friend of mine - why she avoided using the microwave oven for the kids' food. She said something like "in twenty years we'll know what dangers this thing causes". I told her husband, an MIT graduate, to explain that all it was doing was shaking water molecules, and it was inherently safer than cooking on a stove. She would have nothing of it, and he didn't want to start an argument!

There are lots of examples of how fear of the unknown has caused far more irrational behavior, sometimes at great cost. What are the chances that small, safe nuclear reactors will become commonplace in the U.S.? Practically nil for the near future. Staying the course - importing huge amounts of oil - is so much more palatable. Go figure.

Brian H | August 27, 2011

It's now 30 yrs. later. Check back with your friend and see if she still avoids it! Enquiring minds want to know ...

EdG | August 27, 2011

1) The kids are not infants any longer, so heating baby foods is not the issue any more. 2) They're divorced now (big surprise! not.), and I have no desire to track her down.

Some things remain a mystery... Life is never completely understood.

Timo | August 27, 2011

Well, that divorce wasn't huge mystery, I guess. MIT graduate with clueless blonde. I hope that kid inherited brains from your friend.

EdG | August 27, 2011

Don't let your imagination run too wild... She wasn't blond, nor absolutely clueless: just way too "hard-headed".

And "the kids are alright".

Brian H | August 29, 2011

Yeah, had lots of experience with a wife immune to fact. Once an opinion formed (on any basis), it was game over. Bright enough to come up with some truly astonishingly paranoid ones, too, societal and personal!

Fortunately, never got the idea that microwaves were able to render food radioactive or toxic, though. ;)

David M. | August 30, 2011

Maybe had to do with people saying "I've got to nuke this in the microwave". Heard it over and over again.

Now, can we get back on "anti-theft charging on travels"? Because this is important to me at hotels and airports. Airports are waiting for guidance, and hotels haven't a clue.

Larry Chanin | August 30, 2011

Hi David,

Forgive me if this has been mentioned earlier, I think the solution has to rely on a basic assumption that the public charger end of the connection has to be built to be vandal-proof. Then it is up to Tesla to come up with a reasonable solution to vandal-proof its end of the connection to the car. The logical and inexpensive way to do that would be to place the plug inside the front and/or rear trunk space and of course lock those compartments. Anything more elaborate that this is going to negatively impact the ease of use for owners.

Larry Chanin | August 30, 2011

Here's a vandal-resistant proposal I ran across.

Curb Connect V2G

I have my reservations regarding how practical this approach will be to actually implement. In particular the very low slung Model S probably wouldn't fit over any typical concrete parking bumper to which this system might be attached.

cerjor | September 7, 2011

How about induction charging as is done with my electric toothbrush. One set of coils in the pavement and one in the car. Only problem is scaling the current up 10,000 times or so.

Vawlkus | September 8, 2011

The other problem is power loss, and radiation.

I don't mean it's radioactive, but any power that's lost from the Induction system has to go somewhere, thus it radiates outward, and I doubt having an unshielded microwave in your garage is a good idea.

Brian H | September 9, 2011

not the same/right frequency range. The energy that is dispersed and lost turns to heat far, far away. The induction coil that captures some/most of the RF energy is tuned to the exact emission frequency/wavelength emitted.

Vawlkus | September 12, 2011

Would you still want it in your garage? I sure don't.

Timo | September 12, 2011

It's quite safe, it isn't radio frequencies that are used there, more like macrowaves than microwaves, and magnetic fields instead of electric.

David70 | September 12, 2011

It's all electromagnetic waves. I have no idea what frequency would be used, but to be efficient there would have to be very close coupling.

the bonnie | September 12, 2011

Nice solution that another Roadster came up with (and I use):

You need a padlock that will fit tightly over the width of the cable and a wire cable with two looped ends.

Put the padlock over the cable, put the wire cable around your rear tire and loop each end of the wire cable on the padlock.

When the padlock is locked, the cable is secure inside and locked to your rear tire.

A very simple, effective solution. (Of course, someone could cut the cable - but they could also cut a locked cable.)
Also, use of the coulomb J1772 chargers is helpful - if you're registered with, you will be notified via mms if your charging cable is disconnected.

Brian H | September 14, 2011

On the Fully Charged site, there's a vid of a test drive with a full Rolls Royce prototype EV, and it comes with an inductive charger.

Volker.Berlin | September 27, 2011

Inductive charging may not yet be ready for the mainstream, but it is a reality. At the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, an inductively charged EV is currently being used (and charged) under real-life conditions. Lufthansa is considering to switch parts if its vehicle fleet to this kind of technology. Unfortunately, the only source I have available is German language only:

John Griswell | October 3, 2011

And the answer comes from a tourer:

"The charge port is in the driver's side tail light. When you bring the charger near the light it pops open. When the keys are not present, you can't remove the charger to prevent theft of cables."

gjunky | October 3, 2011

I didn't see the charge port hooked up but I was talking to someone from Tesla about the cord and I asked and it is being locked in place when the car is locked. You have to unlock the car and push a button on the charge plug to disengage it.
I also saw the hinging part of the driver side taillight. Just didn't realize that it was for the charging connection.

Brian H | October 3, 2011

It seems the proprietary (and handier) connector is tied in to a nation-wide placement of free high-speed Tesla charging stations. From TM's point of view, they're cheap, and cheaper by the hundred. Much better than compromising on a lower-level "standard", that it can't control.

Volker.Berlin | December 20, 2011

autobloggreen: "Try out Plugless Power to wirelessly charge your EV, get free electricity for six months"

Robert.Boston | December 20, 2011

Oh boy; a savings of $150 (electricity rebate) on a $4000 item that charges at 3.3kW. Only 25 hours to recharge the 85kWh pack!

Volker.Berlin | December 20, 2011

Robert.Boston, before you start worrying -- you cannot use it with the Model S anyway: Evatran says, is over 90 percent efficient and "mimics" the J1772 standard without a cord.

I was just posting the link here to reflect the general state of the matter. IMO induction is much closer to the market than fusion (darn, did I use the F-word again?). It is still early, but activities like this suggest to me that induction charging for EVs is becoming a reality, although it may not yet be relevant for Tesla owners.

Volker.Berlin | February 14, 2012

I am still wondering whether inductive charging is a hype or the future. I am not yet giving up. At some point, we *will* have inductive Autobahns! :-) (Myself, May 19, 2011)

One step closer:

Volker.Berlin | March 2, 2012

autobloggreen: "Audi working on wireless charging with WiTricity technology"

Volker.Berlin | May 22, 2012

autobloggreen: "EVS: Utah State University quietly working on in-road wireless charging"

Volker.Berlin | June 8, 2012

Did you know? Inductive roads are a reality, and have been for a decade already in Genoa and Turin!

The New York Times: "In Italy, Electric Buses Wirelessly Pick Up Their Power"

Readers knowledgeable of the German language may prefer to read this more detailed report by Heise:
"Leises Jubiläum: Seit 10 Jahren fahren in Genua und Turin induktive geladene Elektrobusse"

Brian H | June 8, 2012

Buses are a special proposition; their stopping points are known exactly, as are their size, design and power requirements. That said, I'd be happy to see the end of overhead power wires for them.

Volker.Berlin | June 9, 2012

Buses are a special proposition (Brian H)

Absolutely. Which is good b/c every new tech needs some playing field where it can provide some benefit while not yet developed to its full potential. Then we can go further from there.

Volker.Berlin | July 9, 2012

Some news from the "inductive roads" front:

"[...] The EVER project (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway) shown on, allows electric cars to charge through four inches of concrete--like that used on a typical road--with the vehicle's tires picking up the charge as it rolls along. [...]"

Volker.Berlin | August 22, 2012

News from the wireless charging dept.:

Volker.Berlin | September 24, 2012

Back to the original topic of this thread, the owner's guide says (page 16):

"To prevent unauthorized unplugging of the charging cable, Model S must be unlocked or able to recognize a key before you can disconnect the charging cable."

Dr. Bob Reinke | November 6, 2012

How about a cell phone call from the car that says "Help I'm being tampered with!" Or if the connection is broken or the Model S is opened, "Help my security has been violated!"

Vawlkus | November 7, 2012

Or maybe "help, help, I'm being oppressed!" :)

What IS that from anyway?

MB3 | November 7, 2012

I know it from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Brian H | November 7, 2012

Sound effects, "Zzsp, ZZ, Zzzzt! ZzzzzzZZZZ...".

nvjx | November 7, 2012

While we are waiting for the exotic future of charging, for theft prevention of charging cables maybe Tesla can at least do what Volt does. If someone pulls the charging cord out of a Volt when it is plugged in and the car is locked, the alarm goes off (the horn starts beeping and lights start flashing) to scare away the thief and draw attention to what is going on. IMHO a simple solution to implement while more grandiose future ones are being developed.

Alex K | November 7, 2012

@nvjx | NOVEMBER 7, 2012: maybe Tesla can at least do what Volt does. If someone pulls the charging cord out of a Volt when it is plugged in and the car is locked, the alarm goes off

From the Model S Owner's Guide:

• To prevent unauthorized unplugging of the charging cable, Model S must be unlocked or able to recognize a key before you can disconnect the charging cable.

nvjx | November 7, 2012

Thanks Alex K. I should read the manual. It would still be better in this situation if the alarm went off to scare the person away and notify the owner something was amiss, if the owner happened to be nearby.

Brian H | November 7, 2012

How? If the cable can't be removed, what triggers the alarm? Tugging?

Teoatawki | November 8, 2012

@Vawlkus @MB3

Actually it's "repressed".

DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing
swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive
power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some
farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power
just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just
because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd
put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here
that, eh? That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing
me, you saw it didn't you?

Brian H | November 9, 2012

RED QUEEN: Off with his head!

inetpix | December 28, 2012

Nice to hear Model S might have some such cable anti-theft feature. I just got a used Roadster and tried the simple experiment of locking the car, setting alarm and then removing the charger. No feedback, just comes off, ready to walk away...

It does seem that since the car does so much synching and communicating with the charge supply that simple removal while locked could trigger an alarm, but I read the owners manual cover to cover and the only anti-theft statement I saw was around the doors or trunk being opened trigger alarm. Cable disconnect should just be a firmware upgrade away...

Having slogged through the many nonsense posts and tangents on this thread, I don't think I saw any solve for Roadsters so far.

Perhaps this is a more theoretical than actual problem so far.

Brian H | December 29, 2012

Yes, other than copper theft, what would the motive/market be for a stolen Roadster connector?

Mark E | December 29, 2012

@Brian H: The same motivation that morons who key cars have.