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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is really 2 topics rolled into 1.

I would first like to say that I am madly excited about the volt and am really pulling for GM to make this a hit.

I work for one of the largest US auto insurers and work in a specialized vehicle theft investigative team. We handle primarily the MD/DC area and a few other areas.

Out of all the brands stolen, Dodge appears time and again as the most frequently stolen vehicle by low tech/snatch and grab thieves. They could make a new movie called "Gone in 6 seconds" and I would instantly know it was about Dodge vehicles...

Another frequent event is the theft of a vehicle's catalytic converter. Now this typically is from an SUV or Pickup truck, and very commonly from fleet vehicles.

So what's the point right? Well I am concerned about two things which relate to the Volt.

GM vehicles in general are also relatively easy to steal(Force turn the ignition). Law enforcement in the area I work will take a stolen vehicle at an impound lot, give the policyholders a flat blade screwdriver and tell them to put it into the ignition and turn it. This does start the car, immobilizer installed or not(This is after the ignition is already popped). Surprisingly, Ford in general has one of the hardest ignitions to defeat by snatch and grabbers' outside of a luxury vehicle. Can GM design an ignition that is harder to force turn? I should say that I don't know if the Volt will be purely push button start w/ a wireless Fob. Do we know if there will be a traditional key/ignition?

The 2nd area(and I think the most important to pay attention to) is the catalytic converter. Now why would we care owning a volt? Because I predict that the new "catalytic converters" will be the very thing that GM is working so hard to perfect..... The batteries.

Thieves frequently steal the Cat Converter for the platinum inside so they can sell it cheap and quick. My concern is that with the rise of EVs, EREVs, PEVs, etc etc. We will have our precious Volts targeted for that ultra pricey Li-Ion battery. Now I don't want it to be super hard to replace, but I am hoping that GM can come up with a way to make it harder to steal in the night w/o making a ruckus.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? I hope that this discussion will somehow help prevent me from having to see countless Volt's w/o batteries due to some criminal.

Also any questions? feel free to ask I would be happy to answer what I can.
 

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If your theory is correct, then you should be seeing a lot of stolen and break in for the Prius. What does your data tell you?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We currently have not seen any large numbers of Prius stolen that I am aware of, however I think that is also due to a couple of factors to be considered.

The Toyota immbilizer systems tend to make it much harder for the snatch/grab thieves to take these cars when compared to the GM/Dodge/Chrysler solutions.

Also the Prius battery is not nearly as large or expensive as the one planned to be put into the Volt(This is my impression, is this correct?).

Currently we do not(at least I don't think we do) know how easy it will be to gain access to the Volt's battery, I want it to be easily serviceable, but not so easy that any thief can just roll up under the car and snag it out.

Thirdly, the Prius is still a relatively young vehicle also, and while the Volt will be Brand NEW, it will be (and already is) all over the TV/Magazines/internet and will be hyped up quite a bit.
 

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Completely keyless?

Acutally, I'd like to see something completely keyless, if that's possible within a reasonable price. It could have a strong password that you need to put into the center consol to activate the vehicle. Perhaps a pin number to unlock doors? I don't think the average theif would have much success cracking a strong password in under 6-60 sec LOL. What do you guys think? I think we should be way past the old key/ignition thing.
 

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But then again, if it were completely keyless, what do you do when you let someone use it other than yourself? You can't just give them a key. You'd have to make a new password. Or if you used valet parking? maybe its not such a great idea... I don't loan my car to many people, or use valet parking much. But, making a new password every time would get old. It's just a thought though. Id still like to see it done :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wouldn't mind a wireless key-fob, with a push button start, which i think is what they plan to do(I think i read this somewhere).

What I don't know is if they plan to use the standard passlock (PL1/PL2) systems with an ignition that seems so easy to defeat.

GM if you read this, and plan to have some sort of key/turn based ignition, please consider something better than passlock.

I don't know about how much more expensive this would be, but one of the coded drive-away protection systems would be great! :)
 

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Cryptography is old hat. You could easily make multiple codes for multiple levels of systems access and even temporary throw away ones.

You could even serialize the battery to ensure that if it's stolen the actual battery could be put on a list and any service station would alert GM. Hopefully GM has some pretty bright software engineers working on the Volt.
 

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Then if the Prius is not a target for thieves for the batteries, then who will be breaking onto Volts for parts and what would they do with them?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Then if the Prius is not a target for thieves for the batteries, then who will be breaking onto Volts for parts and what would they do with them?
I think you missed my 3rd post, I thought I covered that. Am I missing part of your question? Let me know I would be happy to elaborate if I didn't address something or I just misunderstood.

Thanks
 

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A password is too easy for passengers to see you punch in and too long to enter compared to putting in a key. It has a lot of show-off but it's not very convenient. And if it's only a few characters, it's pointless, since they can be cracked with just a little time.

Fingerprint readers can be beaten quite easily, but it does take some time and planning (mythbusters).

I would like to see a standard key with a transponder built in, like Ford has on all their models. Keep it simple.

Not sure about the battery. I would assume it would be a major undertaking to steal a battery. It would probably be like trying to steal an engine or a transmission. Valuable, but would take too long and is too heavy to safely steal.
 

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Out of all the brands stolen, Dodge appears time and again as the most frequently stolen vehicle by low tech/snatch and grab thieves. They could make a new movie called "Gone in 6 seconds" and I would instantly know it was about Dodge vehicles...
Not sure where you get your info from. I've never heard of Dodge being all that popular amongst thieves, but here are the cars that were in 2007 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. They are pretty much the people who keep track of this stuff.

1. 1995 Honda Civic
2. 1991 Honda Accord
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F-150 Series Pickup
5. 1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 Pickup
6. 1994 Acura Integra
7. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
8. 1994 Nissan Sentra
9. 1988 Toyota Pickup
10. 2007 Toyota Corolla

Not a lot of Dodges.

I have no worries about anybody stealing a Volt's battery. It will require the car to be raised up on all four corners and the battery will weigh 400 lbs. Not a simple job. After they steal it, what are they going to do with it? Take it to the recycling center? Try to sell it on Craig's List? I'm not saying that somebody somewhere won't eventually steal a Volt battery, it's just that thieves like to steal things that are easy to get and can be sold off really easily. The Volt does not seem to be a prime target IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ah! you are absolutely correct about the NICB, and they are our very good partners on this subject. However I specifically was referring to snatch and grab thieves, not all theives, and in addition to this, the Mid Atlantic area only.(DC, MD etc...)

I think you answered my question also in the 2nd part of your posting. I was unsure of approx how much the battery would weigh and that settles in my mind if we would see a large quantity of battery claims. With that much weight and work required, we will not likely see this very often unless the entire vehicle is stolen and taken to a location to be stripped.

Thanks! ;)
 
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