Answer: Their batteries.
ABC7 reported earlier this week that a San Francisco resident’s Prius, which was parked on the street overnight, had its battery stolen. However, in order to get to that battery, thieves had to completely remove the rear seats and cut all the wires (after they had first broken into the car, obviously). It was neither a quick nor an easy job, and left the car looking “like a jalopy car,” according to its owner.
The battery is one of the most valuable parts of a hybrid vehicle like the Prius, with used versions sometimes fetching more than $1,000. It’s also very expensive to repair a battery-jacked hybrid — up to $10,000, depending on the damage that was done. Technically, hybrid cars could be operational without the battery, but they will likely refuse to start if they detect that such an important piece of their drivetrain is missing.
Fortunately for all-electric vehicles, the batteries are massive and probably weigh close to a thousand pounds, so they’re not as likely to be stolen.