Noise pollution and EV

Recent studies from the UK highlight the persistent issue of loud traffic noise caused by petrol and diesel vehicles, suggesting that electric vehicles (EVs) may be the key to achieving quieter streets. The survey found that an overwhelming 80% of respondents were bothered by road noise near their homes, with 14% unable to escape the noise, causing disruptions to their sleep and mental health.

Data shows that from 2016 to 2018, the proportion of the total U.S. population potentially exposed to aviation and road noise, determined by a 24-hour average sound level, saw an increase. The number of people affected by aviation noise rose in 37 US states during this period, while 13 states and the District of Columbia experienced a decrease. Similarly, 31 states and the District of Columbia reported an increase in road noise, with 19 states recording a decrease.

The problems of acoustic ecology of the human environment is the question that is being studied by many researchers around the world and Thor AVAS team.

The Impact of Noise Pollution

The need to tackle noise pollution is evident, with 34% of survey participants losing sleep and 22% facing mental health issues due to persistent road noise. Research by UK company, Gridserve, involving 2,000 UK adults and data from 422 councils, suggests that EVs, being around 10 dB quieter than traditional vehicles, could significantly reduce this problem. The move towards quieter, eco-friendly transportation aligns with growing environmental and health concerns and complies with legal regulations limiting new car noise levels since 2016.

Vehicle Noise Regulations

The external noise produced by passenger cars has been regulated since 1929 with the introduction of the Motor Cars (Excessive Noise) regulations. New cars are now expected to comply with Europe-wide noise limits, progressively reduced from 82 decibels (dB (A)) in 1978 to the current limit of 72 dB (A) established in 2016.

The quoted noise levels are the maximum allowed for new vehicle types. Many vehicles produce less noise, and modifying a vehicle's exhaust system to make it louder than the level recorded for that model at type approval is illegal.

A new EU regulation introduced from July 2016, Regulation (EU) No 540/2014, implements stricter noise limits over 10 years, along with a revised, more accurate test procedure. By 2026, the limit for most new passenger cars will be 68 dB(A).

How EVs Can Help Lower Noise Pollution

Electric vehicles provide the dual advantage of reducing both air and noise pollution, serving as a cleaner alternative to conventional vehicles. The incorporation of artificial sound systems in EVs addresses safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists, ensuring EVs are audible without contributing to the noise pollution. This development, combined with the projected growth in the white noise machine market, suggests a wider recognition of the importance of effective sound management and the role of EVs in generating quieter urban environments.

The transition to electric vehicles not only marks progress in addressing environmental concerns but also significantly improves public health and well-being. As urban areas continue to find ways to combat noise pollution, the adoption of EV technology and infrastructure emerges as a hopeful route to quieter, more tranquil city living.

Reducing noise pollution does not mean complete silence. Statistics show that silent vehicles can cause numerous accidents. However, sound is a crucial element and one of the five human senses. For this reason, the AVAS system was developed to detect the approach of electric vehicles at low speeds.

And what sound this system will have depends on the manufacturer. Major auto giants such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi, VW, Nissan etc. have created unique, interesting sounds for their hybrid and electric cars that distinguish their brand and take sound design to a new level. Since 2016, the Thor AVAS company has been developing and producing external sound systems for cars, and since 2020 it has been creating AVAS systems and sounds for them. In addition to cars, the AVAS THOR system is suitable for various types of electric motors: from e-scooters to large commercial electric vehicles.

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