Green energy company and electric car charger proprietor Ecotricity has encountered a very Victorian problem: rats have been vandalising its electric car chargers, chewing through wiring.
The company is now embarking on a rat-proofing project to protect its hardware from resident rodents. It’s suspected that heavy rainfall has pushed the rats above ground, which has led to them being in proximity to car chargers.
In their search for a reliable supply of food, the rats may also have found the car charging points in close proximity to fast food restaurants.
“For all the predictions of the changes the climate crisis will bring – here’s an unexpected one,” Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said in a Facebook post.
“Recent heavy rains, which seem to be the new normal now – are driving Britain’s rat population (estimated by some at 120 million) above ground, seeking warmer and drier places to live.
“We’ve seen an impact of this – somewhere surprising – on the electric highway.”
Some chargers had stopped working, and the issue was unidentifiable via remote monitoring, he explained.
Nesting rats and severely-chewed wiring were found on investigation. Some of the pumps had their components chewed to the point that they’re uneconomical to repair and need replacing.
Existing chargers are being ‘rat-proofed’, as are new pumps yet to be rolled out.
The curiosity and, dare we say it, humour, of the situation isn’t lost on Vince.
“It’s another climate irony – increased rain, driving rats to seek new homes and killing EV pumps in the process.
“If you made it up in a novel or something it would sound a bit of a stretch. But it’s our reality. What next?”