So Tesla might be one of the most talked-about cars in the world, but what do car thieves think. Are you thinking about investing in a Tesla and wondering just how secure the vehicle is compared with everything else on the market? Really just how easy is it to steal a Tesla compared to other premium cars?
Yes, Teslas can be stolen but they are much less likely to be than regular cars. One reason is that they have built-in tracking embedded in the car and a unique keyless system which makes it difficult to steal a Tesla and get away with it for any significant length of time (although not impossible). Compared with other cars Teslas are VERY secure, with all-vision cameras that record when stationary and the famous ‘Sentry Mode’ that warns thieves to back up.
Teslas are effectively big computers on wheels. As a result, it’s not a case of just breaking into the car you need to ‘hack’ your way into the vehicle.
Compared with traditional combustion engine cars, Teslas are extremely secure and thieves target the cars less and almost never get away with robbery or an attack on the car.
Teslas vs Other Cars
While everyone is trying, it’s currently the Electric Vehicle manufacturers who are coming out on top and, in particular, Tesla.
And one of the critical reasons why EV manufacturers are as a whole are having more success in the war on car crime is, according to Matt Moore, vice president of the US Highway Loss Data Institute, down to the fact that when the majority of electric vehicles are not in use they are usually parked in garages or close to the house on charge.
Hence, almost by default, this immediately tends to scare off your local car thieves.
So What Makes Tesla So Unique?
Tesla is fast building a reputation as the vehicles that car thieves actively avoid. So much so that in the recently published Highway Loss Data Institute list of ‘vehicles that are most likely to get stolen in the United States,’ the Tesla Model S and Model X are almost 90% less likely to get stolen than your average car.
But according to the same list, there is one vehicle that’s even less likely to get stolen than either of these two, and that’s the BMW 3-Series, and before you ask no, I don’t know the reason…
Why Is It ‘almost’ Impossible To Steal A Tesla – And Get Away With It
Because Tesla doesn’t look at it from the perspective of developing security for a car, they look at it as improving software security.
As a result, they’ve introduced some incredibly sophisticated security features that are far more advanced than what you would find compared to other premium cars.
These include three key security features: GPS Tracking, Sentry Mode, and Pin-to-Drive.
GPS tracking has been a regular security feature since Tesla’s early days. Using the Tesla phone app, owners can receive real-time data on the location of the vehicle. So if the car does get stolen, owners can use their phone to give the police the exact vehicle location.
The downside to this feature is that in an effort to save battery life, the car only updates in real-time while driving – so the vehicle needs to be on the move for it to work effectively.
GPS is likely to be one of the key reasons why the majority of stolen Tesla’s are recovered. To put that statement into context consider this between 2011 and May 2018, the US National Crime Information Center tracked 115 Tesla thefts and recovered 112 – not sure your average Ford Focus owner would be quite so lucky. By the way that is an incredible 97.3% recovery rate!
This security device does what it says on the tin. Sentry Mode is there to deter thieves before they even attempt to steal the car.
Enabling this feature leaves the vehicle in a “monitoring” state. The two side cameras, front camera, and sensors remain active even while the car is not running. They continually observe the surroundings, ready to notify the owner that an individual is too close to the vehicle.
So in the unlikely event that a theft is in progress, the display flashes a “recording in progress” message. For most thieves, that’s enough to reconsider. And for those thieves that are too stupid to understand what’s going on, well they deserve to be caught.
Pin to Drive Security Feature
This Tesla security feature means you must enter your pin to drive the car. So ‘smart’ is the technology, that the location of the pin-pad shifts with every startup — thus preventing the reading of fingerprint smudges. The only way to reset the pin is to enter your Tesla account credentials.
So Can I Sleep Soundly Knowing My Tesla Won’t Be Stolen?
No doubt’s compared to the security systems in other premium cars, it’s incredibly hard to get away with stealing a Tesla.
But that’s not to say some hadn’t tried and got away with it. Take a look at this YouTube video or this piece from Business Insider both detailing a pair of thieves taking a Tesla Model S from outside houses in London by using several portable devices to hack the various system.
In these instances, the Metropolitan Police suspected the cars were taken to order to be either shipped abroad or stripped for parts.
But with Tesla continually rolling out extra layers of security and the fact that you can track your car through the Tesla App, we think you can sleep easy.
Is Anything Else Being Done To Stop Car Thieves?
So common is the issue that Audi’s parent company, the VW Group openly admits that they are collaborating with the police and insurers in the UK as part of their “continual” work to improve security measures. And while some premium car manufacturers have begun introducing new technologies to prevent keyless theft, such as motion detection technology, there is still a very long way to go.
But if you’re not a Tesla owner, you might want to consider having your car protected by heavily armed guards with huge, fierce dogs in a compound 24 hours a day, because there’s a chance it could be stolen.
Because according to Statista, one of Europes leading providers of market and consumer data. Car thefts in England and Wales reached an eight-year high. In 2018, more than 106,000 vehicles stolen. The number of high-end cars stolen has doubled over the last five years.
During that time, there have been a massive total of 67,000 claims for premium car thefts, meaning one car is being stolen every 38 minutes on average – which makes for pretty frightening reading.
The latest data from UK insurers Direct Line data, between January and October 2019, the industry saw stolen premium car claims up 117% from 6,600 to 14,300 for the same period in 2018.
The Future For Thieves
The Association of British Insurers suggested that it’s the rise in keyless car crime that’s to blame. Today your average car thieves are more likely to be sophisticated computer hackers than a couple of chancers with a crowbar or half a house brick.