Electric vehicles and background noise

Everyone knows background noise is not a hearing aids best friend. That goes for interior/exterior car noise when driven. Now before I buy a EV I need to see bottom line prices come down to say $30,000 - $35,000 range and a solid 400 miles in between battery charges. Both those targets should happen in one to two years.

With that said has anyone driven a EV or been a passenger and seen (heard) a significant reduction in road noise, interior cabin noise? With no engine EV should be substantially quieter when accelerating and I assume when cruising, but I’ve never been in one during operation. Wind noise is going to be a constant but I have to wonder if people with hearing aids might choose a EV over a gas engine, due to less exterior noise penetrating the car cabin area.

Noise/hearing aids is not a deciding factor for me. I have a Prius for running around that will do a mile or two on electricity alone, but not over 45mph. Yes, it is quieter on the battery, and yes at faster speeds there will be wind noise. But neither is so distracting in my other car (an 18-year-old large Jag sedan) that I feel my hearing is disadvantaged while driving a standard vehicle. The Prius has Bluetooth technology for hands-free calls.

The only hearing issue I have in my Jag is that because of its age it does not have BT (and it does not appear able to take a retrofit other than by swapping out the stock radio). Is that a big deal? Not really. It means instead of the audio being piped through the car’s sound system and my voice picked up by a ceiling-mounted microphone, I just set the phone on the dash and the internal mike will pick up my voice, and the caller is piped into my ears, or I can travel with the lanyard microphone that I bought with my Oticon.

Bottom line: for me, not a deciding factor in what kind of vehicle to buy. That said, I feel socially responsible by driving a gas-sipping Prius, and my inner Walter Mitty is sated by occasional forays in the Jag.

I drive a 2018 Nissan Leaf model S. With all the Colorado and Federal tax incentives and an Xcel Energy rebate the final price after trading in my 2010 Kia Soul was $12,500. The estimated range after a full charge is typically 180 miles. That is more than enough for us using it as a second car driven 90% of the time. Our model came with a home charger. I had a 240 V outlet in the garage so it is never charged anywhere else.
It is quiet but road and wind noise is no different from an gas powered car.

My suspicion is that quiet inside the car is more result of insulation and perhaps precision build with luxury cars tending to be quieter. I’d expect both a gas powered Mercedes S class and a Tesla S class to be comparably quiet. If you’re outside the car however, I’d expect the Tesla to be much quieter.


I have the Chevy Bolt. Love it. Rated at about 240 miles (2019). Plenty. It’s our only car now. It has Carplay and Android Auto and bluetooth. You’ll be spending much more money on 400 miles even when available. Good luck with the 30-35 price range. I was out the door all in for about $37K CDN after a few rebates (you do the math…it fluctuates…I don’t remember what the exchange was at the time of purchasing though I have a glimmer of memory of around 28)
Indeed road noise doesn’t change. It’s a heck of a lot quieter than my old Jeep Cherokee though. There might be something with tires that could have a quieter ride. I’ve heard of people putting that sound-deadening stuff in as well for something else to think about.

I just simply love not always paying for gas. There are many free fast chargers around my area-ish too. For going any distance, you just need to do a little more planning. Everybody stops for body needs and to stretch and eat and smell the roses so you just incorporate that in. It’s not hard. It just takes a little longer to get to your destination.

In that price range there is also those couple Korean cars from Hyundai and Kia. They have similar range.

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EV is great. But wearing HAs is not a reason to prefere EV over gas. It’s wind noise at higher speeds that let you struggle while listening. Ever had the chance to drive at 200km/h in a car or at least 160 (=100mph)? You don’t hear the engine of any car, it’s the wind.


And the Bolt is speed-governed at 150k. The max posted speed in my area is 120k. Must be an amazing experience to drive a street legal car on a highway at those speeds.
Up into those speeds sucks down power in a hurry too. But really not unlike a gas car…just different fuel.

I am.guesdingbit varies a bit for each of us. For me the noise I notice the most in any car is wind noise and tire noise. Have not been in a pure EV bit my friends Prius that I have spent a fair amount of passenger time in is every bit as noisy as my Subaru.


I have a Gen II Prius, the tire noise is what drives me bonkers. Two years ago I bought LRR tires for improved gas mileage . . . we original Prius folks are always striving to hyper mile; I haven’t read as much about this with the more recent Prius models. I noticed the tire noise dropped considerably with the LRR tires. But it’s still there. Wind noise as others have said will vary with insulation, a more expensive car will generally have more insulation, thus better noise reduction. (Don’t they even include that feature in some of the ads?)

FI LRR = low rolling resistance Bumped up my miles per gallon about 7 which is great! I’m always over 51 mpg now, and for a 12 year old car that is super. The newer Prii get that easy, but my Gen II wasn’t initially rated for that high an mpg.

Right, an engine kicks on in a hybrid and adds to the noise level. A BEV will get a bit of a whine and then of course all the road noise as mentioned. The faster you go the less the whine is noticeable.

If my 2018 leaf whines I sure can’t hear it.

My wife and I have the Jeep Grant Cherokee and I couldn’t ask for a quieter vehicle for what it can do. This is our third one since 2010 and I will never anything else.

New cars tend to be quiet inside whether they’re EV or ICE. I doubt it’s much of a factor with hearing aids. I have a Volt which is both EV and hybrid. Rarely notice any increase in sound when the engine starts. In “extended range mode” (mostly engine) sometimes the engine will rev to full even though the car is going slow. That increase in sound is easy to hear. It happens for example after being stopped for an extended period. The engine is off for the duration of the stop and the battery is depleting. When accelerating afterward the engine is producing the motive power plus the deficit. Biggest increase in noise I’ve noticed was when I switched from the stock low-rolling-resistance tires to regular tires. Increased cabin noise for sure and cost a bit on range. Necessary in my case because the stock tires were too easily damaged on gravel roads.

Turn up the aids :slight_smile:
It’s an electric motor… it oughta be making some sound.

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I agree with the comments about insulation and certainly more expensive vehicles tend to have better insulation and less cheap plastic. Whether it be a Tesla or Lincoln or whatever. And tire types makes a difference too. I think it’s Consumer Reports that lists interior noise level in their car reviews, but it might be one of the auto magazines, not sure.

Though I’ve not driven an all elective vehicle I think there would be a significant difference in “interior cabin noise” when EV are driven under 30 - 35 miles an hour. At that speed wind noise won’t be that great, while the EV runs silent due to no gas engine. At higher speeds I would assume there probably isn’t much difference between gas and EV. But on the plus side the perceived noise benefit of an electric car may encourage manufacturers of petrol and diesel cars to innovate to make theirs even quieter, further reducing the difference.

I have been driving a 2008 Lexus RX350 AWD for 9 years. I always thought my car was noisy. I wear I wear the OTICON S1 Minirite and even at 75-85 mph I am able to have a conversation with my passenger in spite of primarily the road noise. However, I recently sat as passenger in a Tesla Model S. At lower speeds (40-50 mph) the Tesla was very quiet until we were on the Interstate at 70 mph. The road noise was not much less than in my RX350, however there was a very unpleasant higher frequency noise level that made it nearly impossible to understand the driver next to me, much less our wives on the back seats even on smooth pavement, regardless of which setting I used for my hearing aids.

My old Prius seemed very quiet!

Love my Toyota Camary! I lease it every 3 years and it is quiet even with sunroof (not open of course).