At one time or another, especially if you live in Detroit (or anywhere in southern California), you will have your car stolen. It happened to me twice in five weeks when I lived in a gorgeous river-front apartment in downtown Detroit during the early 1990's. Both times, the car was never recovered, and naturally my pocketbook suffered. Not only did I have to replace both vehicles and their contents, but my insurance sky-rocketed. Since the 1990's, auto theft has declined sharply, due in part to harsher penalties for the crime, and better technology, like vehicle tracking devices such as OnStar and LoJack.
But are technologies like LoJack, which typically draw their operating energy from a car's battery and electrical system, viable for use with electric and hybrid vehicles? Up until last week, the answer would have been a straightforward "no." Any accessory or device that isn't self-powered is likely to be overlooked by drivers of EVs and hybrids, because battery power is so crucial. But last week LoJack announced they would be releasing a self-powered version of their legendary anti-theft and tracking system as early as the first quarter of next year, specifically for the drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles. While this particular part of the vehicle market is relatively small right now, it's growing by leaps and bounds — just consider how many more Toyota Priuses you've seen on the road compared to just three years ago. Consider too that President Obama has called for a million EVs and hybrids to be in circulation right here in the States over the next five years, and suddenly what seemed like a niche market — accessories designed not to be a draw on the batteries of EVs — becomes a bigger chunk of the mainstream.
“As we looked to the future of the automotive market ... it was clear that there was a need for a new generation of aftermarket products that are self-powered and optimized for newer vehicles,” said Ronald V. Waters, LoJack Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As we continue to diversify our business, the new power management protocol will have beneficial applications in future versions of all LoJack products.”
Here's to hoping that EVs and hybrids won't be targets of auto theft, but just in case, it's good to know that LoJack has my back.