Will electric vehicles contribute significantly to a quieter world?

Photo credit: cytech licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jeanine Botta, of Silence the Horns, expresses some doubts in her post, “Marketing quiet while adding to noise pollution.” Botta writes about a recent post on Huffington Post that discusses the health effects of traffic noise.  She notes that the piece, which “tells us that ‘EVs are bringing the quiet’ and concludes that ‘…you could say we’re about to enter a golden age of silence,'” was promoted by Nissan, with “Brought to you by ELECTRIFY THE WORLD – A NISSAN INTELLIGENT MOBILITY INITIATIVE” appearing next to the Huffington Post banner.  “Welcome to the world of advertorial marketing,” she says. 

What follows is Botta’s thoughtful analysis of why electric cars may not be “bringing the quiet” any time soon.  More importantly, if concern about vehicle noise is more than a marketing ploy, manufacturers should look at Botta’s suggestions on how they can “substantially reduce vehicle noise pollution” right now in both electric vehicles and in internal combustion engine cars by simply phasing out audible alarms and signals.

Click the first link above to read Botta’s entire piece.  It is well worth your time.

Comments (2)

  1. Arnoud Traa

    Nice insights into noise pollution by cars, especially the fact that EVs only produce 3dB less noise than ICVs (fuel cars). The biggest chunk of noise seems to be created by the tires (please correct me if this is wrong). So efforts conducted towards better grip (with lower profile noise emmanation) should be supported by the car industry.

    Regarding the beeping noises that car alarms make, there’s a relativelt easy solution to that.
    Sent a signal back to the carkey and make it ‘vibrate’. It will affirm the driver that the car is locked and nobody else will be bothered. Make it a hip thing to do, broadcast a slick commercial with a celebrity that shows of his quiet new car.
    Car alarms however have 2 purposes. First encourage the thief to stop the attempt and second alert the driver and/or the surrounding persons.

    1. GMB (Post author)

      Hello Arnoud,
      From what we’ve read it would appear you are correct that the biggest noise element with cars is tire noise–and EVs won’t be getting rid of that anytime soon. Thank you for the suggestion with regard to beeping noises. A colleague maintains the site Silence the Horns (http://silencethehorns.org), which focuses on the (over)use of horn sounds with remote vehicle lock signaling and other auditory confirmation signals and prompts. I’ll be sure to share your comment with her.
      G.M.Briggs, Editor


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