Browse By

Electric vehicle noises and what they mean

Although quiet, electric and hybrid vehicles all emit some sound, whether that is through driving or charging, and it is important to be able to identify what these mean.

Motoring experts from have revealed eight common noises produced by electric vehicles and some of the reasons for them.

With a lot more electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads and different car companies creating their own models, it can become more challenging to identify whether a car noise is normal or not.

A spokesperson for said: “In the not too distant future, petrol and diesel powered cars will become less available, with many more electric and hybrid models taking to the roads than there were ten years ago.

“These types of vehicles are very quiet, which is great for noise pollution levels, but some drivers may be concerned if their car does make a noise, this could mean that something is wrong.

“Due to changes in legislation, electric cars are required to make more noise than before, so we’ve compiled a list of common sounds and what they mean.”

Rolling noise

When a vehicle reaches a higher speed, the rush of the wind resistance and tires can make a noise that may sound unfamiliar when you’re used to driving with very little sound. Especially if you have switched from a petrol or diesel powered car, when you’re used to hearing the sound of the engine.


Something that is unique to this type of vehicle, is charging. If you’re a new owner, then it can be hard to tell if the noise this makes is correct. You should only hear the sound of the cooling fan, if this is different, it could mean that there is something not quite right.

Lower speed noise

New EU regulations have now made it a requirement that an electric vehicle should make an artificial noise when it’s going at a speed slower than 12mph. Although it may not be possible to hear this from inside the car, pedestrians, especially the visually impaired, will benefit greatly from this change, as they’ll be able to tell when a car is approaching.

Artificial tones

Some electric car companies have even developed ways to alert pedestrians when a car is approaching slowly, by creating artificial tones mimicking car horns that sound less urgent.

Personalised car sounds

Some companies have given drivers the option to customise their car sounds, to make it sound like any vehicle. They can have up to five sounds in their soundtracks.

Interior sounds

Some companies have enabled their cars to have certain interior sounds to make the driving experience more immersive. If the car is put into sports mode, then the sounds of the car will mimic that particular model.


If your hybrid vehicle is making a humming noise, chances are that the transmission pump is malfunctioning, and this could mean that there’s a problem with the torque converter.

Accelerating noises

Some car models have other interior sounds. The electric Ford Mustang has a ‘bassy hum’ when the driver puts their foot on the accelerator. This is designed again, to make the driving experience more immersive and replicate how it would sound in a petrol or diesel powered car.