Do Electric Cars Make Any Sound (Answered)

Electric cars are known for being for being very quiet. They are practically silent as you drive.

The only sounds you might hear while driving are from the tires and any wind resistance. 

This is due to the fact that electric cars, unlike other traditional combustion engine cars, don’t use any gears, fans or mechanical valves in their motors.

Outside presence detectors have been installed in these vehicles to alert pedestrians of their presence. Otherwise, these autos can be a problem for them.

photo of a white tesla electric car driving on the road with natural motion blur of background

In this article, we will discuss in more detail whether electric cars make any sound. 

Noise Pollution And Internal Combustion Engines

All vehicles are known to be a major factor in both noise and air pollution. It is known that around 55% of the world live in some kind of city.

Thus, the amount of people that live in a city increases the impact that vehicle pollution has on the residents of that city. 

In addition to that, noise pollution that a lot of traditional cars cause creates a large threat to wildlife.

It decreases a bird’s ability to be able to communicate with one another, and they can’t detect any predators that are nearby.

Generally, noise pollution stops wildlife from being able to care for their young, reproduce and forage. 

As a result, it cannot be surprising that manufacturers have been trying to create much quieter cars.

Quieter vehicles produce a quieter and cleaner solution to the pollution traditional cars have caused. 

Studies have shown that at around 10mph, a vehicle with an internal combustion engine will produce around 55 decibels.

This figure is already far higher than the recommended noise levels that have been produced by the World Health Organization.

They would prefer levels, especially at night, to only 40 decibels.

Electric Car Noise levels

When electric vehicles including hybrids which are being driven in electric mode reach up to 20 mph, they are already much quieter than a vehicle which uses an internal combustion engine.

As a result, electric vehicles are pretty much silent vehicles to have. 

The only noise you may hear is referred to as rolling noise. This is just noise caused by wind and the tires, it’s not actually coming from the car’s engine. 

With that being said, the difference between electric vehicles and gas powered vehicles when driven at high speeds changes.

The noise pollution each car emits at higher speeds are very similar.

This is because the wine and tire noises that are produced create a larger percentage of the traffic noise when any vehicle is driven at a high speed, no matter the type of engine that is used. 

In order, to try and make electric vehicles as energy efficient as possible, a lot of electric vehicle manufacturers are using aerodynamics in their cars.

This is to reduce the drag that a car produces. In addition to that, this then reduces any wind noise a vehicle may produce when driven at high speeds.

As a result, a lot of more modern electrical vehicles are much quieter when driven at higher speed than gas powered vehicles. 

Quieter Cars Have Their Own Issues

While electric cars are much quieter, this is great for noise pollution. However, there are some disadvantages to having a quieter car. 

An electric car may not produce any engine noise or vibrations, but depending on the brand, they can still emit wind and tire noise.

Although, as mentioned above, manufacturers are constantly refining their designs and aiming to limit the amount of internal noises their cars are producing. 

It is known that for someone who is driving an electric vehicle due to the lack of engine noise or vibration, they can hear much quieter noises that are often drowned out by the engine.

In addition to this, the magnets that are used in an electric motor can produce very high frequency noises that are quite noticeable when you are driving at much lower speeds. 

Research has shown that the internal and acoustic materials used for insulation on an electric vehicle could grow up to 21% every year for the next 10 years.

With this added weight due to the insulation, this means manufacturers need to counteract it, otherwise they will be producing very heavy cars. 

For example, any extra weight to an eclectic vehicle can reduce how well the battery performs, and you may find the heavier the car, the quicker the battery will run out.

As a result, manufacturers need to find a balance between noise cancellation materials and weight. 

Quieter Electric Verticals Are An Issue For Pedestrians

Due to electric cars being so quiet, it has many people questioning what this means for the safety of pedestrians.

As they are so quiet, it may be difficult for animals, visually impaired people or children to hear that an electrical vehicle is close by.

photo of a black Tesla electric car parked on a parking lot beside some grass

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, declared that all electric vehicles had to make a sound when they were traveling below 18 mph.

This was to ensure that pedestrians would be able to recognize and detect that a vehicle was near them.

While in Australia and Europe, all electrical cars must be fitted with an alert system when they are driving at slower speeds.

This system then produces a sound that is only heard externally, and the passengers in the car may not hear it.

Yet, it is a great way to warn pedestrians of your presence. 

Alongside that, when we talk about pedestrian safety, we aren’t just talking about blind or visually impaired people.

Some people get distracted when they are looking at their phones, and therefore they can become in danger if they don’t look up when crossing the red and there is an electrical vehicle nearby. 

Due to the lack of noise that they make, it can be difficult to hear them coming, if they aren’t paying attention to the roads.

Do Electric Cars Make Any Sound While They Are Charging?

Electric cars are far quieter than gas powered cars, due to them not having an internal combustion engine.

The only noise you may hear will come from the wind resistance and tires while driving. Yet, when you are charging your car, you may notice a subtle noise. 

When you charge your car, you may hear a slight sound. However, this is normally the cooling fan within the car.

The cooling fan is working to keep the battery cool that is being charged, while also keeping other components nearby at their correct temperatures as well. 

This sound is barely noticeable, therefore, you may not hear it unless you were really trying to hear it. 

Final Thoughts

More and more people are turning to electric cars as they are a much more eco-friendly option. In addition to that, they are almost silent vehicles to own. 

The engines make little to no noise, and the only sounds you may hear will come from the tires and any wind resistance while you are driving.

However, this can be an issue for pedestrians, which is why external presence detectors have been fitted to alter pedestrians of these cars’ presence. 

We hope you have found this guide helpful, and have a better understanding on how quieter electrical vehicles are.

Jonathan Rice

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