Reports Emerge of Drivers Becoming ‘Sick’ While Driving Electric Vehicles

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Reports Emerge of Drivers Becoming 'Sick' While Driving Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle drivers and their passengers are falling sick according to experts, who say the lack of sound in an EV is a major factor in motion sickness.

Dr. D.J. Verret says motion sickness in EVs “is a real thing,” ABC reports.

“The brain sets up a model for what it expects in certain situations,” he said. 

“In combustion cars, you hear the engine revving and know someone is stepping on the accelerator. The car moves forward. In an EV, the auditory and visual inputs don’t fit the model that you are actually moving.”

However, electric vehicle passengers are most likely to suffer, he said.

“If you’re the driver, your head moves when you turn the wheel to the left,” he said. 

“Our brain is responding to what it’s expecting to happen. If you’re a passenger, you can’t see those motions.”

“If you have a certain lateral acceleration — like turning a corner fast — that will increase your potential for dizziness and motion sickness.”

President and chief analyst of AutoPacific, Ed Kim, called Teslas the “worst offenders,” saying they can be “very jerky and really abrupt.”

John Voelcker, a contributing editor at Car and Driver, warned it’s not just the vehicle.

“A lot of motion sickness, honestly, is because of the driver.”

He added that abrupt acceleration and braking wreaks havoc with passengers. 

“It can cause some people to get sick,” he said.

“Strong regenerative braking, which recaptures max energy, can cause motion sickness. There is a learning curve to lifting off the accelerator in an EV … you have to modulate it.”

Matt Farah, editor-at-large for Road & Track said the combination of factors causes a perfect strm for sickeness.

“The way an EV motor delivers power — and the absence of sound — are what make you feel dizzy going fast in one,” he said.

According to 2020 study published in Science Direct by Vrije University in the Netherlands, sound is an important cue for passengers.

“Being able to anticipate upcoming motion is known to potentially mitigate sickness resulting from provocative motion,” the study said.

“Average illness ratings were significantly lower for the condition that contained informative auditory cues, as compared to the condition without informative cues,” the study said.

“This knowledge, i.e. that auditory signals can improve anticipation to motion, could be of importance in reducing carsickness in domains such as that of autonomous vehicles,” the study added.

Meanwhile, an Instagram poster calling herself livingwellwithelle insisted she had multiple symptoms linked to driving her EV.

“Fatigue was the first symptom and it got worse over time,” she posted, alleging that shoulder and neck pain, nosebleeds, nausea and even hair loss took place during the time she owned a Tesla.

“Disclaimer: Am I sure the car caused these symptoms? I’m not 100% sure of anything. Is it likely? Our symptoms are gone after selling it 5 months ago,” she wrote.

READ: Unsold Electric Cars Are Piling Up in Their Thousands

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