Rats! This man’s EV was devoured by rodents and nobody wants to cover the €5,000 damage – Euronews
When Samil Sanal started his electric car for a regular day of work as an Uber driver in February, all the lights on his dashboard began blinking.
“System failure,” the car said.
He never would have guessed what was going on under the bonnet of the €30,000 EV.
Deep in the entrails of Sanal’s Kia e-Niro, an electric crossover, one or several rodents had gnawed away at big chunks of wiring, causing more than €5,000 in damage that neither the car’s warranty nor his insurance will cover.
“Rodents made a picnic out of the Kia,” Emma Sanal, his wife, told Euronews Next.
The couple and their two children live near Lyon, France, in a house with a garden close to the Rhône River. Two older cars parked outside right next to the Kia were left unscathed, they said.
Mice or rats nesting in a warm vehicle is not a new phenomenon, and there’s no suggestion that they prefer EVs to traditional petrol or diesel cars.
But car dealers and owners suspect new environmentally friendly materials used in auto parts may be attracting more wildlife than before.
‘Rats ate my car’
A Google search for “rats ate my car wires” returns dozens of pages of results, from local news stories to forums where users trade tips to repel rodents.
Tesla’s forums also include a long thread of Model 3 owners complaining about rodent-related damage to soy-based insulation.
In the United States, several class-action lawsuits have been filed against other big carmakers in recent years, alleging that soy-based products were to blame for infestations of hungry animals. These court cases were later dismissed.
Back in Europe, the trade group representing auto part suppliers, CLEPA, says all materials go through testing and are designed to resist misuse by humans or animals – rodents included.
It says it has no evidence that biodegradable materials used in modern cars – such as soy, hemp or corn – are more at risk.
“We also know about insulation material used under the hood or electric and water conveying cables which martens destroyed [Editor’s note: martens are weasel-like mammals]. These materials were not bio-based,” a spokesman told Euronews Next.
How to keep rats away from cars
Kia France said that while the company sympathises with the Sanals, its warranty won’t cover the damage done to their car because it results from “an external attack”.
“This issue is rare but known to all the players in the auto industry,” a spokesman said.
Some insurers have in fact recently changed the terms of their insurance policies and provide tips to prevent this kind of damage, such as keeping the car clear of food items, the spokesman added in an emailed statement.
He attached a photo of what he suspected were crumbs under the cushion of the back seat, saying these “could have been what attracted rodents into the car”.
A second photo showed the rodents had also devoured the seatbelts, which are made of Nylon and not a plant-based material.
The Sanals’ insurance company, Axa, said it doesn’t cover damage inside a car when caused by animals, and that “it’s preferable to park your vehicle, whenever possible, in a closed and secure space” to prevent creatures from sneaking into it.
Sanal parked his car right outside his …….
Leave a Comment