Tesla has been topping its industry rivals in media reviews, consumer reports and race tracks since the company began mass production, but there’s at least one category where the leading electric auto manufacturer falls to the very bottom — theft.
During the car’s top-selling year so far in 2013, which totaled more than 25,000 units (almost 21,000 in the U.S. alone), only three units were reported stolen in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. None were stolen in 2012, and only one was stolen in New York the year before.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the median theft rate for all cars is 3.58 for every 1,000 cars produced, while Tesla’s is about 0.15 per 1,000 cars, MarketWatch reports.
That doesn’t mean theft is lacking in the high-end automobile market — of 159 2006 Lamborghini Murcielagos, one was stolen (bumping its rate up to 6.29 per 1,000) and out of 15,179 2008 Infiniti FX35s, 52 were stolen at the near-median range for all cars — 3.43 per 1,000.
The biggest likely reason for Tesla’s low demand on the stolen car market is that it simply isn’t cost effective to steal one, and the risk/reward ratio is just too high without a significant amount of knowledge, access and work.
Teslas are unlocked and started with individually coded digital key fobs, and can be tracked individually with onboard tech supported by the company. Stealing any electric car poses an additional challenge period, as potential thieves would have to hit up the company’s network of public charges without another alternative, where police or the company itself would likely be watching for it.
The number one incentive for grand theft auto is parts, and there aren’t enough Tesla’s on the road yet for a market of owners to frequent chop shops. Not to mention if owners can afford a near $100,000 Tesla price tag in the first place, they can probably afford the upkeep.
While security researchers have already proven they can hack and unlock Teslas, and one could theoretically be stolen by identifying and replicating the proper key fob, most luxury cars are not the targets of theft for similar aforementioned heightened security measures.
The list of the most stolen cars in America is made up of widely popular, easily available and affordable cars like the Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Accent, Mitsubishi Galant, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet HHR, and Dodge Charger, with a few standout rare and luxury models like the Nissan GT-R, Infiniti FX35, Cadillac STS and Lamborghini Gallardo.