Published on May 3rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Nissan Highlights Quiet of Electric Cars By Running Race Through Sleeping Town

Electric cars have many benefits: excellent efficiency, a super smooth ride, amazing acceleration, no tailpipe emissions, no reliance on foreign oil, the great convenience of never having to visit a gas station again (ability to charge up at home overnight instead), and unquestionably quiet transportation. Nissan recently highlighted that last point by running a race between a few of its 100% electric Nissan LEAFs through a small sleeping town in France. You can check out a very fun video about the event above.

For sure, Nissan was engaging in a publicity stunt to bring more people in to the many benefits of electric cars. However, the event was also centered around raising awareness about the underacknowledged problem of urban noise.

“Nissan was helping celebrate 19th Annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD), which took place on Wednesday and highlighted the emotional and health issues as well as high blood pressure and insomnia caused by excessive exposure to noise,” Autoblog Green writes.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) states 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*. The medical effects of noise levels include insomnia (50dB), obesity (50dB), psychic disorders (60dB) and reduction in life expectancy (50dB)*,” Nissan writes.

The city with the highest quality of life that I’ve ever lived in was Groningen, in the Netherlands. It was leagues above wonderful US cities and towns that routinely get ranked at the top of “best places to live” lists, such as Charlottesville (VA), Chapel Hill (NC), Ithaca (NY), Sarasota (FL), and Sunnyvale (CA). One of the keys to its high quality of life is the fact that about 50–60% of people bike to work. I lived on a very “busy” street between the city center and a large university campus. My window was facing the street. Yet I didn’t have to suffer from the noise (or pollution) of cars nearly at all. I mostly just heard “ding ding, click click” as people biked by on their old, warped bikes. That experience put the quality of life bar very high for me.

While electric cars aren’t quite the same as bikes, they are extremely quiet and also don’t have any vehicle emissions, so a transformation to electric cars would change the sounds and quality of life of our cities. We write a lot about how the electric revolution will help to address global warming, improve public health, cut our oil addiction and prevent oil wars, but the quality of life improvement from the reduced noise is a tremendous benefit that I think really doesn’t get enough attention. Thanks to Nissan for highlighting this!

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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