Are Electrics The New Manuals Of Car Theft? Have We Stooped This Low? Is This Our Society Now?

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt, which has an interior similar to the 2017 model.
Image: Chevrolet

The Austin American-Statesman reports that, according to an arrest affidavit, a man in jail near Austin tried to steal a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt after a confrontation at a stop sign on Saturday. The confrontation apparently involved some yelling, a machete and confusion—confusion about how to drive an electric car.

Is this what society has come to, confusion when trying to steal an electric car? Remember when we used to think manual transmissions were the only way to curb theft, because of their three pedals and the need to actually pay attention? Remember when we used to laugh at thieves who couldn’t drive them?


That is no longer reserved for us. Now, evidently, EV owners and their ability to use just one (one!) pedal to drive have the same luxury. This world is bleak.

A Bolt sitting in a driveway with its vacation gear secured on the roof, with no fear of being stolen because it’s “one of those electric vehicles.”
Image: Chevrolet

The Bolt owner told police a man identified as Cory Allen Patrick approached the window of his car at an Austin intersection on Saturday, according to the arrest affidavit. When Patrick, 28, yelled at the owner to “get out,” the owner rolled the window up before Patrick smashed it and climbed inside, according to the affidavit. The owner said Patrick attacked him, and that he got out because he “did not want to die over a car.”

Patrick then tried to escape but couldn’t figure out how to drive it, according to the Statesman. All the while, a witness was running over with a machete to help the Bolt owner. Because Patrick couldn’t make the vehicle move and a machete was on the way, the Statesman reports that he got out and was later caught “in some nearby grass” by police.


The 2017 Chevy Bolt has several different driving modes, and the car offers different levels of regenerative braking for one-pedal driving and using less of the brake pedal in all of its modes. The Bolt owner said driving it “takes some getting used to,” according to the Statesman, but the familiar “D” option for “drive” is right there for those unfamiliar with EVs.

Image: Chevrolet

But let’s get this straight: We now live in a world where the potential to use one pedal and a “RNPD” instead of a “PRND” shifter layout is enough to derail an allegedly violent thief. No longer are your three pedals, parking brake or manual gears special, because now, an electric car is enough to throw somebody off.

In 30 years, when everything is autonomous, our world leaders are computers and we’re nervously awaiting a robot uprising, people will shout “save the EVs” instead of “save the manuals,” with the reasoning that “nobody takes the time to learn how to drive a car these days” and driving an EV with your own hands and feet—or foot—could save you from theft.


Oh, wait, that’s apparently already happening.

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Alanis King

Alanis King is a staff writer at Jalopnik.