Honda civic hybrid

The San Francisco Bay Area has seen a recent upswing in stolen hybrid car batteries in 2015, and in typical San Francisco fashion, an entrepreneur is seeking to monetize a solution. Police in Northern California say that hybrid batteries have become a hot-ticket item among car thieves, as if the cost of replacing hybrid battery wasn’t enough of a concern for green motorists. The batteries can by recycled for a value of nearly $1,000, but on the black market they could go for three or four times as much.

And unfortunately, they aren’t afraid to damage innocent drivers’ hybrid cars to get their hands on their prize. Toyota Prius owner Jim Elkins says that battery thieves smashed a back window on his car while he slept. Then, they proceeded to tear the car apart to gain access to the battery compartment. When he took his car in for repairs, the total cost was $11,000. Hybrid battery replacements alone can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, but add the cost of repairing a hybrid car ruined by unscrupulous thieves, and you’re facing a major financial burden.

Now, Bay Area car company Greentec Auto says they have a mechanical solution that can help safeguard hybrid batteries for just $350. The company designed a bolt designed to protect the battery from illegal removal.

“With these bolts, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to have them installed to where if they do break in, they’re not able to walk away with the battery,” said Greentec Auto Vice President Daniel Razumovsky.

According to Razumovsky, their specialty bolt requires specialty tools to be removed. So while thieves might still smash in your passenger window, they won’t be able to walk away with any more hybrid batteries. That would save drivers from the need to pick up an expensive hybrid car battery replacement, and hopefully, help cut down on the Bay Area’s burgeoning black market for stolen batteries.