A blogger in the US has told the story of how a rat – attracted to the warmth of his charging plug-in vehicle – gnawed through his vehicle’s wiring and caused around $600 worth of damage that was not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Joe Wiesenfelder parked his brand new Chevrolet Volt at a public charge point overnight, and was alerted by the EV owner parked next to him that a rat had crawled underneath his car.
When he returned in the morning, three warning lights were displayed on his dashboard: ABS, Service Brake Assist, and Service Stabilitrak.
Noticing that the rear windscreen was not demisting fully, Mr Wiesenfelder took his car to a Chevrolet dealer who revealed that the vehicle’s warning lights were not functioning either.
As Chevrolet considers rats an “act of nature”, Mr Wiesenfelder was forced to cover the cost of the repair, which totalled close to $US600.
Internal combustion engine compartments have always been a favourite hiding place for small animals looking to escape the cold, but electric and plug-in vehicles may provide an even more tempting sanctuary, as the under-body is kept at a constant warm temperature throughout the recharge process.
The Chevrolet Volt is the result of millions of dollars and years of research and development, and we wonder if the damage a pesky rodent could cause ever crossed the minds of the engineers when they were building it.
If not, it’s probably time a solution was found to combat an ancient pest wreaking havoc with 21st century technology.