Future Operational Impacts of Electric Vehicles on national European Roads


With changing public attitudes regarding sustainability and energy efficiency, the use of electric vehicles (either hybrid electric or fully electric) on European road networks is increasing. While the main focus of noise-related research has been associated the use of these vehicles in low-speed urban environments, particularly in relation to the safety risks posed to vulnerable road users, little research has been carried out to date on the potential noise impacts of electric vehicles on roads, which fall under the jurisdiction of National Road Administrations (NRAs), namely motorways and other primary routes.


As part of research funded under the CEDR Transnational Road Research Programme Call 2012 on Noise, the FOREVER project aims to address the issues on NRA roads by providing data and information focussing on three issues: 

  1. The identification of the noise emission levels from electric vehicles (powertrain and rolling noise components) at speeds representative of NRA roads, including the impacts of added alert sounds and the development of input data for the CNOSSOS-EU noise model,
  2. The noise emission from low-noise tyres and tyres used with electric vehicles, and
  3. An estimation of the noise impacts of electric vehicles and low-noise tyres on NRA roads, based on different fleet compositions and different take-up rates of electric vehicles.

The project is scheduled to end in December 2014.

Environmental Benefits and Exploitation:

The results of the proposed research may be applied or integrated into procedures or systems used by individual NRAs, e.g. through the other CEDR Noise project QUESTIM [QUietness and Economics STimulate Infrastructure Management]. They are of significant indirect use through improved traffic noise prediction and the subsequent preparation of noise maps and action plans in line with the requirements of the Environmental Noise Directive.
The findings will help to inform NRAs in the future planning and design of road traffic noise mitigation measures, help inform future predictions of traffic road noise, and provide information on wider noise benefits of using electric vehicles and the choice of tyres used on electric vehicles.

Potential technical benefits and exploitation

The project will provide a starting point for enhancements of the source noise model in the forthcoming CNOSSOS-EU noise prediction model and provide further evidence beyond that already available from previous low-speed research studies, as to whether the noise emissions from electric vehicles are similar to or lower than those of ICE vehicles.

The FOREVER Consortium:

The FOREVER consortium is led by TRL and includes AIT (Austria), IFSTTAR (France), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and the University of Bath (UK).

Start date:  01 January 2013
April 2014:  Presentations at TRA 2014
End date:  31 December 2014