June 5, 2023

Tesla sounds: A guide to the sounds of your electric car

Tesla has produced a new guide that allows you to familiarize yourself with the sounds produced by its electric cars. Although electric cars are quieter than gasoline-powered vehicles, that doesn’t mean they’re silent.

Not only do electric cars reduce pollution from harmful tailpipe emissions, but they also reduce noise pollution.

It’s a benefit that’s often underestimated, but reducing noise pollution has been linked to reduced stress, a silent killer in our society.

Studies have even directly linked electric cars and stress reduction to noise reduction.

However, for some, the lack or reduction of electric vehicle noise is a drawback. Many gearheads like the noise of the motors and feel that the lack of noise in an electric car is a downside to the driving experience.

Although electric cars make less noise than gasoline-powered vehicles, especially when accelerating, they still make noise, and all electric motors produce different sounds.

Interestingly, Tesla decided to help its owners familiarize themselves with the sounds their electric vehicles make by putting out a “Normal Operating Sounds” guide.

Electrek found a guide posted last week on Tesla’s support site:

While the Model 3 is incredibly quiet, it’s not completely silent. The vehicle makes some noises as part of its normal daily operation and is not a cause for concern. Below is a list of possible normal operating sounds that your vehicle may make based on where the sound is coming from.

Tesla includes in the manual the sounds it considers normal inside its vehicles, such as this “A buzzing, buzzing or screeching sound“during the drive.

The automaker began the guide with a quick warning:

This is a general guide to help you understand common sounds you may hear from your vehicle during normal use. It is not a diagnosis of your vehicle and does not represent a comprehensive list of common sounds you may hear. If for some reason you want to make an appointment with Tesla Service, contact your local service center.

Here are some other “Tesla sounds”:

A vibrating sound/feeling in the steering wheel

This noise is caused specifically by the steering wheel vibrating due to lane departure warnings.

Humming or squealing when driving at low speeds (if equipped with a pedestrian warning system)

It’s just a pedestrian warning sound that Tesla is forced to add as part of the “quiet vehicle” regulations.

Noise in the driver’s footwell when the brake is pressed

This sound is related to the “Hold” function, which can start after stopping.

Tesla has also included the sounds you might hear when the vehicle is parked.

A clicking, rattling or banging sound from the floor of the vehicle

This sound has an interesting origin. Tesla writes in the manual:

When parked, Model 3 opens the HV battery contactors to conserve energy. This sound is heard when you start the vehicle after it has been parked and it means that the high voltage contactors are closing the circuit between your vehicle and the battery.

Squeals or spins tires or brakes

As the sound’s name suggests, this is as easy as releasing the brakes.

Click, rattle, pop, or thump sound while the battery is on battery

This sound during charging can apparently be explained by the metal parts of your vehicle’s battery that naturally expand or contract to accommodate changes in ambient temperature.

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