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EVs could benefit the 70% of UK drivers seeking quieter cabins

Set up by the UK automotive industry and the public sector, the Go Ultra Low campaign aims to highlight the benefits of ultra low emissions vehicles (ULEVs),.

Tests performed by car manufacturers in the Go Ultra Low consortium showed that interior noise levels of electric vehicles and their conventionally-powered equivalents can vary by up to 6dB(A) – a significantly audible difference.

The new research also found that 74% of the UK’s car-driving population above 30 years-old desire “more ‘quiet time’ in everyday life”, with 83% of the same group believing that “Britain is a much nosier place compared with 10 years ago”.

Commenting on the findings, motoring journalist Quentin Willson said: “When you start driving an electric vehicle the first thing you notice is the quietness of the cabin. Rather than it being a novelty, this can have a positive effect on your well-being. We all know how stressful car travel can be – I’ve found the electric motor can turn journeys into a zen-like experience!”

According to noise experts, fluctuations in sound levels can have a real impact on our emotions.

“Many of the sounds people find most annoying and stressful are dynamic – this is no surprise as humans are neurologically ‘hard-wired’ to respond to such noise,” commented Professor Duncan Williams, psycho-acoustician at Plymouth University. “ What makes this annoying is when the noises are beyond our control – they are basically unwelcome intruders into our personal space.”

While the research found that the ability to enjoy a ‘quiet’ car journey is important to the majority of motorists, eight out of 10 participants also believed that a reduction in car engine noise would allow them to hold better conversations with passengers and increase their enjoyment of music.

Katie Beck

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