Your Chevy Volt may draw adoring smiles from that cute, crunchy barista you've been eyeing at the coffee shop, but be advised: it may also draw rats. At least that was the experience of Cars.com correspondent Joe Wiesenfelder, who was forced to confront an unforeseen problem with the website's Volt after a rodent made a cozy home among the car's warm batteries.
When the Volt is charging, its batteries maintain a minimum battery temperature. Wiesenfelder's Volt was charging in Cars.com's downtown Chicago parking garage during last week's Chicago blizzard, where it weathered the storm just fine. But then he started getting emails from the ChargePoint network that monitors public charging stations like the one where Cars.com keeps its Volt (the site bought the car to see how it would survive a cold Chicago winter).
The next morning he reset the charger, which began charging the car again without problems. But the next time he got behind the wheel, the dashboard lit up with a host of warning lights. A rat, it turns out, had made itself comfortable among the warming batteries when temperatures plunged during the night, helping himself to wiring harness as a snack. The result: damage to the warning lights and the rear defogger device at minimum. The cost: at least $600 (acts of rats are not covered under warranty).
Of course, this is no demerit to the Volt itself; rats are part of life in the big city. The problem, as Wiesenfelder points out, is that he can control neither the rats nor the weather nor, in this case, where he parks his Volt--there simply aren't that many charge stations for EV's around the city at this point. Just a reminder that with all new technologies come problems both seen and unforeseen.
On the bright side, with the exception of the rat attack the Volt has performed flawlessly in lakeshore winter conditions for more than a month and 3,000 miles.
This article is news worthy how? Some guy gets ONE rat in his car and automatically it's a "Rat Magnet"? That's like stating if you find a roach in a house built in 2011 that all houses built in 2011 are "Roach Magnets." Implying that if you buy a house in 2011, no matter what you do, no matter how clean it is, it will be infested with roaches. This article should have never left the writer's desk much less the editor's. Unless you are getting kick backs from Oil companies please write unbiased articles. There are no facts, no data backing this ridiculous headline, the article itself contradicts itself, but that didn’t stop Popsci from splashing the headline “THIS WEEK IN UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCES OF TECHNOLOGY: ELECTRIC VEHICLES ATTRACT RATS.” What a shame.
Well, it's no problem so long as we're all reading critically.
As for the battery thing, there is the *possibility* that this could become a problem in the future, and it's good to know that folks are aware of it and potentially designing for the challenge.
It is worth noting that this happened, but it probably is not serious.
I can see that the warm temps probably are an attraction in electrics vs IC engines that go from exceedingly hot to cold fairly quickly. It could also be that some byproduct of the charging process smells inviting ( this last is pure speculation). Better to find out now.
Or, it could be just an anomoly. There are lots of Toyos in Chicago, and they don't seem to have any issues.
However, it would seem that, if this is a problem, the solution would be to rodent proof the critical areas. Probably not that hard to do -- screens over openings etc. Typical pest control measures.
I smell a rat!
GM should rat proof it's wiring and it's underside to keep out unwanted pests.
But then consumer's smell a rat too with the VOLT be the most overpriced consumer economy car on the planet.
So? My mom had a mouse nest in her convental car. It was discovered when she had performance issues and my dad lifted up the hood.
I think it has more to do with the area the car was, not the car it self. any car can and will attract rats, if your in the right area.
For reference, I do believe "rat proofing" is akin to "idiot proofing", the means you'd have to go to without harming anything are more expensive than worth.
In response to the other commenter saying the Volt was the most overpriced consumer vehicle on the market... Cadillac Escalade.
We have that problem in Germany with a wiesel-like rodent called Marder. One munched up the radiator hoses on my wifes car. They like the heat on a cold evening and ,if another one was under the hood before, they will go in and investigate the scent. The fix...wash the engine after the damage is discovered and get wiring and hose protectors. I do not see this as being an insurmountable problem.
a rodent will go to any source of warmth when it is really cold outside, the same exact thing happened to my friends truck this winter.
this has nothing to do with it being an electric vehicle
this article is stupid
This car looks so good, wouldnt mind having this myself
Oh, you guys are your silly rats. /lives in one of the few rat-free places in the world
This really is an issue,especially for us rural folk.May easily be solved though,probably by a sonic whistle placed somewhere near the batteries or any other parts that stay warm.It could even be motion sensitive and computer operated to change the pitch and volume of the "squeal" so that the beasties don't get tolerant.