EVs have possible security vulnerabilities

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By LAUREN JESSOP | THE CENTER SQUARE

The nation’s transition to electric vehicles must not only overcome power and charging station shortcomings, but novel security risks too.

Robert Charette, a longtime systems engineer, contributing editor for IEEE Spectrum, and author of “The EV Transition Explained,” told The Center Square recently that EV stations – of which Pennsylvania is spending hundreds of millions to build statewide – may be vulnerable to hackers. Software security issues will become more important as targets of opportunity increase. Concerns over connectivity exist as well. 

Charette notes that instances of EV charging stations being compromised are on the rise, and plugging your EV into one can expose it to cyberattacks. Cyberattacks on an EV station can also bleed into attacks on the electrical grid.

EVs contain software that controls their systems and establishes communication with charging stations via wireless networks – leaving them susceptible to a range of threats. 

Without proper security measures in place, charging station computer systems can be exploited by hackers who could gain unauthorized access, and potentially manipulate charging parameters or collect sensitive user data. 

Security breaches of EV chargers have already occurred and researchers have found critical flaws in many popular models of EV chargers. Cybersecurity experts at Sandia National Labs say if the EV charging security is not done properly, it poses a “catastrophic situation” for the US.

Most EV charging station authentication, customer payment processes, and locator apps are also reliant on the cellular network – posing challenges in areas with weak signal strength. 

“You can put in all the EV station reliability standards you want, but unless there is dependable cellular service by every carrier at every EV station across the United States, you’re out of luck somewhere,” Charette said. 

Advanced technology in the form of software for all things EV-related, and the electric grid itself, are required to make it all work. It is a “cyber-physical” system – one in which EVs dynamically interact with both energy and information systems to function, Charette says.

If you mess with information and energy, he said, “you are messing with huge segments of society.” 

Charette’s point about interconnectedness is proven out in the relationship between the increasing number of charging units and their impact on the electrical grid and local electrical infrastructures – which, by all accounts, need massive upgrades to support the extra energy required. 

“It doesn’t do any good if you have EVs in a neighborhood and your electric distribution company can’t support it,” he said. 

Reliability issues being experienced involve broken or malfunctioning charging ports, the lack of skilled technicians to repair them, and with no attendants on duty to watch over the equipment, cable theft is occurring. 

Much like catalytic converters being stolen for their rare metals, charging cables contain copper wire, and thieves are cashing in on them.

In a sort of a “chicken and egg” situation, without a reliable charging network, consumers may be reluctant to invest in EVs, while investors and businesses may be hesitant to commit resources to building stations without a substantial user base. 

Charette believes spring 2025 will be “where the rubber meets the road, or the bug is going to hit the windshield.” At that point, “we could be well on our path to EVs, or a new administration might change the EV policy direction completely,” he said.

8 COMMENTS

  1. People who choose to vote for this should instead create their own country. And leave the rest of us to live free. Not sure where they can go, but think it will be called hell for short.

  2. If I were Vladimir, I would have my people working on a variety of projects related to this. But, not to worry, we have Alejandro Mayorkas in our corner, “protecting” us.

  3. Face it, trend-sucking radical leftist idiots: battery-powered vehicles are uneconomic, unsustainable, environmentally destructive, and just plain stupid.

    There is not, and never will be, any “national transition” to BVs. It is nothing but an innumerate, pie-in-the-sky, socially coercive fantasy.

  4. My mother is 84 and loves her EV. She drives about 100 miles a week and charges at night to avoid high electricity costs. When I’m 84 I will do the same.

  5. Maybe(?) … Someone from the Chugach Electric Assoc can reassure – commit – promise to providing EV Charges that won’t compromise personal security? Certainly, they could make personal commitments of this order to the Rate Payer // Customer, correct?

  6. I think California should stick to their guns and go totally EV as soon as possible.
    They should not be allowed to build any new power plants only solar panels allowed.
    They will be the test bed to see how well this works for the left to see as the right knows it won’t work.
    Again, this is communism, pushing us into something we don’t want and will not make a difference.
    How about the government stop using fossil fuels, shut down all sporting and entertainment events that use large amounts of fuel that are unnecessary and stop all wars and military.
    They need to do this first then we can talk.

  7. Last two articles was about EVs! Should we be laughing now or later? Not that I’m not against other! It’s just not there yet! But we can get there but it will take oil and electricity to get there!

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