Fast Company

EV, Ew! Your Electric Car Is a Rat's Nest

Chevy Volt

Electric vehicles: good for the environment and the rats hiding in your garage? EV battery packs may be ultra-attractive to rodents, if a report from Joe Wiesenfelder at Cars.com is to be believed. A rat chomped through wiring in the engine compartment of his Chevy Volt, triggering warning lights and rear defogger problems--and it could happen to you.

The problem is that electric cars stay plugged into wall sockets for hours while they charge. The batteries stay warm (read: at a rodent-friendly temperature) the entire time that they juice up. Green Car Reports explains:

All electric vehicles "condition" their battery packs to stay at the right temperature while recharging. It may mean using some of the wall current to warm the pack, or to operate fans to keep the pack cool in cars with air-cooled packs like the 2011 Nissan Leaf. In vehicles with liquid-cooled packs, like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, wall current may go toward operating the pumps that circulate the coolant.

In the end, Wiesenfelder's pesky rat caused $600 worth of damage. None of it was covered by the Volt's warranty since rats are considered an "act of nature." Perhaps EV owners need to start making rat-trap perimeters around their vehicles while they charge. But ideally, manufacturers should think of a solution, and soon.

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2 Comments

  • Paul Williamson

    Animal damage is covered under the comprehensive portion of anyone's auto insurance. However, the amount of damage is probably less than most people's deductible.

  • Ryan Servatius

    I have heard of mice getting in to engine compartments for the warmth and eating wires. It happened to my father in law's Shelby a few years back.
    The Voltaric technology is awesome and a HUGE step forward over pure electric automobiles.
    Since Pure Electric Automobiles can ONLY go a set number of miles before needing HOURS to recharge again to go some more. (a horse can currently go farther in a day than a fully electric powered automobile) and lets not forget the electricity still comes from power plants and in America most likely it is coal power.
    Now coal is very clean under the NEW plants being built, but it is still a dirty job to extract it from the ground.
    I can actually see a great future for the Voltaric technology in sports cars like the Corvette. Look at the Tesla and the incredible take off speed from monstrous torque. Add that to a Corvette for take off then switch to petro/gasoline once it is up and going and think of the saved fuel economy and increased take off speeds.
    The future is very bright for these types of technologies.