Lennström, D. and Nykänen, A., "Interior Sound of Today's Electric Cars: Tonal Content, Levels and Frequency Distribution," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-2367, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-2367.
When it comes to the acoustic properties of electric cars, the powertrain noise differs dramatically compared to traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines. The low frequency firing orders, mechanical and combustion noise are exchanged with a more high frequency whining signature due to electromagnetic forces and gear meshing, lower in level but subject to annoyance. Previous studies have highlighted these differences and also investigated relevant perception criteria in terms of psycho-acoustic metrics. However, investigations of differences between different kinds of electric and hybrid electric cars are still rare. The purpose of this paper was to present the distribution of tonal components in today's hybrid/electric vehicles. More specifically, the number of prominent orders, their maximum levels and frequency separation were analyzed for the most critical driving conditions. The study is based upon measurements made on 13 electrified cars on the market. Two established tonal metrics, prominence ratio and tone-to-noise ratio, have been used for the data analysis and have also been evaluated and compared. Examples of when the two metrics provide significantly different results are examined and recommendations of when to use either one are given.