Will electric cars chill everyone out?
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Driving can be a stressful pastime for many of us. Although we all wish we could spend most of our time behind the wheel on country roads and gliding along scenic routes, most of the time we’re busy tackling congestion, avoiding crazy van drivers in town and breaking a sweat trying to find a parking space to fit into.
As car technology develops, you’d expect the whole experience to become simpler, less hands-on and therefore less stressful. And with electric cars becoming the main focus of the big manufacturers, could they be the answer to making things as tranquil as we deserve when driving along?
Sound deadening is everything
Internal combustion cars naturally make a bit of a racket. All those miniature explosions, gears whirring and differentials turning amount to the need for a tonne of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) engineering to make a car’s cabin bearable on a long journey.
In an electric car, those noises obviously don’t exist, but a lack of NVH knowhow can lead to other sounds being amplified like the tyres slapping against the road and stones getting kicked up into the wheel arches.
To solve this, manufacturers are using the same technology as noise-cancelling headphones to give you some peace and quiet in the cabin. Along with concentrated efforts on door seals and windows in terms of sound deadening, the car’s sound system can be used to cancel out any unwanted road noise, leading to a driving experience that naturally relaxes you and eradicates any unwanted eye-vibrating, klaxon-esque sounds.
Nearly all EVs come with self-parking technology
Cars that can self-park have been around for quite a while now but thanks to the use of electric motors, these clever systems are more clever than ever. The motors can be programmed to unbelievable accuracy so that – when talking to multiple cameras and sensors – the car can shuffle itself precisely into a space that you’d otherwise be sweating to fit into.
Even if you have a premium SUV that is closer to a land yacht than a city car in size, the systems should be capable of judging a space to the millimetre and allowing you to sit back and let it do all the hard work. Easy.
The journey towards full autonomy is making things more hands-free by the day
The epitome of autonomy (known as Level 5) will mean that you can plug an address into google maps and you can sit in your seat and check your emails while the car navigates safely and smoothly, completely by itself, to the place you want to be.
We’re not quite there yet, in fact we’re sitting at Level 3 right now, known as ‘conditional autonomy’, which means there needs to be continuous monitoring from the driver as a safety measure, but otherwise the car moves of its own accord and sends you on your way. Even Level 3 (once you get used to it) will make any longer journey feel utterly effortless in comparison to normal driving. So once we’re at full autonomy, the levels of zen while travelling into work will reach all new heights.
One pedal driving is unbelievably intuitive
Before we introduce ourselves to proper machine autonomy, regenerative braking is another way in which current EVs make the driving experience much less stressful than in a conventional car. With the rejuvenation of energy from braking turned up to its maximum setting, 90% of driving can be done using just the accelerator pedal.
With the electric motors working in reverse whenever you press the brake or even lift off the accelerator, the car will slow itself down as if you were touching the brakes in any other manner apart from an emergency stop. The electric motors even turn themselves into mini electrical generators, meaning that the batteries are charged as well. Pretty darn clever.
It seems that electric cars should have us covered then, be it when interacting with the car while driving or taking a step backing and letting the car do the work for you.
In a world that is increasingly highly strung with people pouring more hours into their careers than ever before due to the easiness of internet access, minimising stress is key. And if replacing the harshness of ‘normal’ cars with the silence and serenity of an electric car doesn’t soothe your brow on the way to work, I don’t know what will.