It is commonly known that driving an electric vehicle is environmentally friendlier and cost-efficient alternative than petrol or diesel models, but a lesser-known benefit of going electric lies in its potential to reduce stress while on the road.
A study led by Dr. Duncan Williams, an acoustics expert from the University of York, and commissioned by the London EV Company (LEVC) suggest that EV taxi drivers are happier, more focused, and calmer behind the wheel compared to those who drove diesel cabs.
During the experiment, an electroencephalogram was fastened on the heads of four professional taxi drivers that ply the busy roads of central London. The device monitored brain activity while they drove EV and diesel black cabs and compared the results.
The study observed that EV drivers had higher levels of beta brain wave activity, an indicator of active concentration. The heightened alertness was most prominent as the drivers were waiting at traffic lights.
Moreover, the heart rates of EV drivers were also less variable, a finding which may be attributed to the quieter working environment in an electric taxi. Generally, an EV has around 5 decibels less overall amplitude and a higher dynamic range than a diesel vehicle. While EVs do not entirely eliminate sound and vibration, aerodynamics and low-rolling-resistance tires keep noise levels to a minimum.
Over the long run, reduced stress, sharpened focus, and less distraction improved the working environment for EV drivers, which increased their happiness.
Contactless, Seamless Driving Experience
In addition to the physiological effects, some benefits of owning an EV have become more pronounced during the pandemic.
If you own a home-based EV charger, there’s no need to go out and search for the nearest gas station. Just plug your unit overnight, and it’s ready to go the next morning. If you want to save up on electricity bills, you can take this even further by adding solar panels and battery storage capacity to your home. It also ensures that you’re protected from any sudden failures in the electric grid.
This might seem small on the surface, but it’s useful to note that the petrol pump is a high-contact surface. With electric cars, you reduce potential exposure to the virus, so that’s one less thing to think about, especially in this stressful time.
Some vehicle manufacturers like Tesla offer an end-to-end contactless buying experience where you can customize the details of your EV and pay for it online. Once you switch to an electric model, you may be surprised at the high-tech features that come with most units like pre-conditioning, thermo-regulated seats and steering wheel, and charger timing.
A remote access feature also allows drivers to check on their EV using their phone and control settings so that the car is primed and ready to go.
First-time users will discover that EVs are highly responsive due to the strategic combination of engine and motor. The initial acceleration is comparable to some sports cars. Most EV models have a regenerative braking feature, which means you can start braking before your foot comes into contact with the pedal.
By simplifying transport, EV manufacturers ensure that the driving experience is less stressful and intuitive so that you can focus on getting to your destination.
Maintenance cost is one less thing to worry about when you buy an EV. Although the upfront cost may be higher, EVs are less likely to break down and require mechanical repairs.
Zap-Map estimates that plug-in vehicles can cut service, maintenance, and repair costs by more than half compared to petrol or diesel units. Pure-electric vehicles are mechanically straightforward and have fewer components that require servicing. The wear and tear on tires and brakes can also be reduced due to the regenerative braking feature.
EVs also decrease running costs by up to 70% compared to conventional cars, mostly due to fuel savings. You don’t have to worry about your car breaking down or fuel shortages.
If you’re worried about the steep initial cost, you can rest easy knowing that there’s a federal tax credit for EV purchases designed to incentivize these purchases. It is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill that can go as high as $7,500, depending on the unit and brand.
Some states like Colorado and California offer additional incentives such as rebates, vouchers, and fee reductions. You can look up your state’s EV-specific tax offerings at the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website.
Despite the purported stress-reducing benefits of driving an EV, it’s useful to note that the study mentioned earlier was commissioned by LEVC, which has skin in the game. As consumers, we have to be cautious about studies involving vested interests and do our research, especially if it involves a high-ticket purchase like a car.
However, anecdotal evidence does back the results of the study. In some cases, the knowledge that you’re driving a vehicle that contributes little to no emissions can make you feel relaxed and comfortable on the road. When you buy an EV, you buy into a future that’s less dependent on oil and play an active role in reducing emissions.
Whether you’re a commercial driver or looking for your next family car, going electric is an option you should seriously consider.