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Is Vandalism of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations a Problem in Wales?

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Is Vandalism of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations a Problem in Wales?

Wales takes our climate change challenges very seriously and is striving to be socially and environmentally responsible. In 2021, the Wales government put forth a vision, strategy, and plan to build confidence in their ability to support more electric vehicles. The vision is that by 2025, all electric car and van owners could be confident that they would have access to charging stations across Wales. Those who adopted early to the electric vehicle movement were limited on where they could travel in Wales due to the lack of charging stations. They have stayed true to that plan and the number of stations is increasing by the day. 

At EVS Electric Vehicle Solutions we want you to know all about what is going on in Wales to get you better access to these charging stations. Whether you are renting a camper or RV from us or are using your own electric vehicle, information about the charging stations in Wales will be helpful.

There are now over one thousand electric vehicle charging stations in Wales. These charging stations are critical to the success of the transformation to a better life that embraces social and environmental responsibility. Reducing the number of gas vehicles on the road is good for the world, slows down climate change, and is simply good for everyone. With so many great reasons to support this movement, you must wonder why these charging stations are the target of vandals and thieves?

We have all heard about road rage when drivers get angry at each other for behaving badly on the road. Who hasn’t gotten cut-off or been the victim of other drivers not stopping at stop signs, using their directionals, or driving too close to your vehicle? These annoying and dangerous behaviours often result in some form of road rage. It is easy to understand that near accidents or the rudeness of other drivers cause anxiety that can result in road rage. Who could be mad at a VW ID Buzz

What about an electric vehicle charging station would cause this kind of rage? These off-the-road rage incidents and bad behaviours at the electric vehicle charging stations are happening more and more often and for several reasons. One reason being the location of the charging station spot. Often these charging stations have the best locations and take away parking spaces for others. They are generally closer to an office building, grocery store, coffee shop, or any other prime venue. Due to the fantastic location of these stations, those with non-electric vehicles get frustrated and sometimes park in those spots even though they don’t need a charge. 

Not only are these vandals damaging the charging stations, but there is also an increasing number of “attacks” on the vehicles parking in these spots. Some have reported paint damage, slashed tires, and window damage. But non-electric cars are not the only one’s parking in those prime spots. Sometimes electric vehicles that don’t need a charge are also taking up those spots. They are also limiting access to the charging stations, and this aggravates those nearing the end of their charge. Having to wait for a car to leave when the actual charger is not in use causes anger and rage off-the-road.

There is a recent story coming from the people in Germany where vandals stuffed the chargers with ground meat to damage the charge connections and to short circuit several charging stations. While we have not seen that in Wales yet, it could happen. Tesla has reported that there have been attacks on their charging stations all around the world. Most of the stories are similar regardless of the location. They have seen cut cables, coolant leaking out of the cables attached to the charging stations, graffiti, and other random damage. 

Here in Wales, we are seeing some incidents of vandalism of charging stations too. Earlier this year at a Costa Coffee Outlet in Wolverhampton, several new charging stations had their touchscreens smashed. On an active social media site, local people commented that those stations were working well and there were not long wait times, so they don’t understand why they were vandalized. Others try to connect the vandalism with political views around the coffee shop itself and not the charging stations. Regardless of the reason for the actions, those charging stations were vandalized and needed costly repairs.

There may be reasons other than anger or off-the-rage that these charging stations are being targeted. With supply chain issues and the rising cost of materials continuing, it may be thieves targeting copper or other materials to sell in the underground economy. This was one theory explored in the 2020 incident in Buckley Bay a bit ago. These vandals could have been thieves and may not have been damaging due to anger, but rather their behaviours were for profit.

With a new ultrafast charging station hub ready to open just off the A48 in Cross Hands in Wales, continued vandalism still is a concern. This station will offer four 50KW rapid chargers and one 150KW rapid charger. This new hub was designed to help drive the electric car movement forward. We hope we don’t see vandalism in this new venue.

These charging station owners are starting to get smart about security around these stations. With charging station vandalism on the rise, alongside of the desire to increase the accessibility and availability of these charging stations in Wales, keeping them safe from damage is important. Security cameras and other basic security services are ways these owners are protecting their charging stations from damage and vandalism. Those systems also keep the patrons safe from off-the-road rage at charging station spots.

If you are visiting Wales with an electric vehicle, you can search on-line for electric vehicle charging stations to find these stations near where you’ll be travelling. With the new government initiatives and the dedication to improving the environment, they are popping up everywhere these days. Remember to always use good charging station etiquette at these spots to avoid off-the-road rage!

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