Silent running electric cars saves your health from noise pollution ills

In a recent video stunt, Nissan held a Nissan Leaf “race” in the quietest village in Europe to demonstrate how electric vehicles can rid the world of noxious noise pollution problems.  Most of the worry causing us to think about electric vehicles is fumes – greenhouse gases and other stuff in the exhaust of gasoline powered vehicles.  But what about the noise?  I, for one, would appreciate not having this unholy racket of cars driving by, and would prefer they were quiet.

The night-time race was held in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, one of Europes quietest villages.  Why at night?  So that Nissan could film residents throughout the night and see if the “race” woke any of them up.  None woke up, despite Leaf’s tearing up the roads of their village all night long.

The hilarious video does show one of the Leaf’s knocking over some trash cans, and someone stirring in bed like “what was that noise” then going back to sleep.  And there was a “tricky” bit where they drove slow past a chicken coop.

This isn’t just a stupid marketing stunt, there’s a serious aspect to this.

Nissan quotes World Health Organization (WHO) stating that at least 13.5 percent of
Europeans are exposed to road traffic noise at levels exceeding 55 dB,
which is considered detrimental to human health.  I suppose here in the U.S. it’s even worse.  Further, the medical effects of noise pollution include insomnia (50dB), obesity (50dB),
psychic disorders (60dB) and reduction in life expectancy (50dB).  I assume they mean psychological disorders rather than unwanted psychic abilities?

The running noise of a Nissan Leaf is 21dB, which is quieter than typical house fans, and way below any threshold of concern.

The stunt was timed to coincide with the 19th annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD).

The Center for Hearing and Communications Executive Director Laurie
Hanin said: “International Noise Awareness Day was initiated by the
Center for Hearing and Communication in 1995 in order to increase public
awareness about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health, and
general well-being.

“As a result, many thousands have had their hearing screened and many more have been educated in the numerous ways to prevent exposure to hazardous levels of noise.

“It is exciting to see Nissan showing off the benefits of their all-electric car, the Nissan LEAF, in this video highlighting that as well as being friendly to the environment, it is also friendly to the community by reducing noise pollution. Congratulations and good luck in this endeavor.”

Electric cars, electric trucks, etc, all carry the potential to change living conditions in our cities.

As I write this I’m looking at the traffic going by my house, and witnessing the racket made by these cars.  It’s unsettling, and every time a really noisy vehicle goes by I flinch and look up.  Further, the result is the noise of birds chirping is barely audible.

I can believe the WHO figures saying that noise pollution causes all those health problems in humans.  But does noise pollution interfere with the lives of the animals as well?

Europe’s nosiest countries in the day
Country / Number of people exposed to noise levels over recommend 55dB level

United Kingdom / 5 million
France / 3.8 million
Italy / 1.6 million
Germany / 1.5 million
Spain / 1.2 million
Switzerland / 749.6K
Belgium / 477.1K
Austria / 464K
Portugal / 436.8K
Czech Republic / 363.8K

Europe’s nosiest countries at night
Country / Number of people exposed to noise levels over recommend 40dB level at night

United Kingdom / 3.8 million
France / 2.6 million
Italy / 158.2K
Germany / 911.8K
Spain / 773.6K
Belgium / 457.7K
Switzerland / 289.9K
Czech Republic / 273.6K
Portugal / 259.2K
Austria / 233.9K

Notes

According to the World Health Organization (WHO, excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/noise
Summary of effects and threshold levels for noise levels exceeding 50 dB according to the World Health Organization: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43316/E92845.pdf

The running noise of the Nissan LEAF engine is 21 decibels According to British Medical Bulletin occupational noise exposure has also recently been linked to greater risk of death from motor
vehicle injury http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/68/1/243.full
According to the European Federation for Transport and Environment, each year 245,000 people in the EU252 suffer cardiovascular diseases provoked by traffic noise:
http://www.eeb.org/publication/documents/EEB-TAndEnoise_factsheet_final_000.pdf
Europe’s noisiest countries in the day: (no. of people exposed to traffic noise over ecommended 55dB limit. NOISE viewer: http://noise.eionet.europa.eu/viewer.html
Europe’s noisiest countries at night: (no. of people exposed to traffic noise over recommended 40dB at night) NOISE viewer: http://noise.eionet.europa.eu/viewer.html

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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