Are Electric Cars Quieter than Gas-Powered Cars on the Road?
of electric vehicles (EV) is increasing in Alberta and across the globe. While
this will positively impact greenhouse gas emissions in our cities, the impact
EVs may have on road noise is less well known. EVs are undeniably quieter than
their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts at start-up and while
“idling.” However, road-pavement noise becomes dominant at highway speeds,
making EVs and ICEs similar.
Associates Acoustical Engineering (PAAE) measured pass-by noise levels of
locally available compact SUVs, comparing EV and ICE models on a local Alberta
highway at various speeds. The results are shown below and indicate that at the
tested speeds of 20+ km/h, pass-by noise emissions of EVs and ICEs on typical
local pavement did not differ significantly.
electric vehicles have the potential to reduce noise with very slow speeds
(under 20 kph) and during idling and acceleration from standstill—where engine-generated
noise dominates, such as in very congested city centres—these data show that
the rise of EVs is not going to drastically change the situation for Alberta
residents who are currently most affected by roadway noise—those living near
busy arterial and highway road infrastructure.
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