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EM Safety study finds electromagnetic fields not an issue for EVs

6 May 2014

The EU-funded study EM Safety, led by SINTEF, has found that neither electric-powered cars—nor those powered by hydrogen or gasoline—expose passengers to higher electromagnetic fields than those recommended in international standards. Field intensity is actually well below the recommended value. The study, involving SINTEF and nine other European companies and research institutes, is currently the most comprehensive ever carried out in this field.

In addition to improving the public’s confidence when it comes to magnetic fields in electric cars, the goal of this project was primarily to create a standardized method for measuring electromagnetic fields in such vehicles.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) defines the limiting values of acceptable exposure to magnetic fields at different frequencies.

The highest values in 7 electric cars under test were measured near the floor, close to the battery itself and when starting the cars. In all cases, exposure to magnetic fields is lower than 20% of the limiting value recommended by the ICNIRP. Measurements taken at head-height are less than 2% of the same limiting value.

In the case of gasoline and diesel powered cars, exposure was measured at around 10% of the limiting value. In other words, there is little difference between electric cars and gasoline and diesel cars.

There is absolutely no cause for concern. The difference between this research and similar earlier work is that we have taken into account what contributes to the magnetic fields. The rotation of the wheels themselves generates considerable magnetic fields, irrespective of vehicle type.

—Kari Schjølberg-Henriksen, a physicist at SINTEF

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