Spot prices for rare earth metals have risen due to dwindling stockpiles and demand from the parabolic growth in the electrification of vehicles. One year ago, we first told readers how catalytic converter theft was erupting nationwide because the car's exhaust system has an extensive amount of platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Law enforcement and local governments cracked down on thieves by making it near impossible for scrappers to sell catalytic converters. However, thieves are evolving as they now target copper-rich Tesla Supercharger stations.
Electrek's Fred Lambert reports thieves cut the heavy gauge charging cables at all eight stalls of a new Tesla Supercharger station in Oakhurst, California last Friday. Tesla Motors Club forum users first pointed out the "vandalism." Here are eight stalls with no charging cables.
This photo reveals why thieves were likely after the cables: copper.
"That's definitely vandalism. Since the cables are missing, I'm guessing it's someone looking to sell the copper for scrap," one user on the Tesla forum said, adding these "cables are expensive - At least a couple hundred dollars each, not to mention the time/money to send a tech out there to replace them. This will cost Tesla at least a couple thousand dollars to fix and if sold for scrap, they might get a hundred dollars out of it, probably less given that these are V3 cables and relatively lightweight."
There are 908 and counting Tesla Supercharger stations in the US that are sitting ducks. Someone better advise Tesla to hire private security guards to deter cable thefts (or there will be a lot of angry Tesla drivers running out of charge across America).