Talk about news of the weird: the owner of a Toyota Aygo in South London claims that squirrels have been chewing their way through his car. He believes that the plant-based plastics used to make some of the car parts are proving to be irresistible to the ravenous rodents.
The car antenna has been chewed off twice, the oxygen sensor has been damaged and rubber trim has been gnawed away by the posse of squirrels, according to Auto Express. Since no other cars in his neighborhood have been attacked, Aygo owner Tony Steeles thinks that the bioplastics might be tempting the taste buds of the rodents.
As PlasticsToday Senior Editor Karen Laird reported in her recent article, "What the future is bringing: Trends to watch in bioplastics," applications in the automotive industry are growing as they allow carmakers to lower their carbon footprint. But is it also heightening their appeal to hungry squirrels? Toyota is circumspect.
"It is known that this issue can occur to plastic parts, regardless of whether they are derived from plant material or not," a Toyota spokesperson told Auto Express. Toyota added that its research and development teams would "investigate if any improvements can be made to the design . . . to deter rodents."
Laird isn't buying any of it. "For heaven's sake, bioplastic is just plastic, after all. With all the additives, color and so forth they put in, I cannot imagine it would be edible," says Laird.
Steeles, by the way, ultimately went back to the car dealer and swapped his Aygo for a Toyota Yaris, which he now diligently parks in the garage.