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Drivers feel less stressed in an electric van, says study

Drivers feel less stressed in an electric van, says study

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Drivers feel less stressed in an EV compared with a traditional petrol or diesel-powered versions, according to a new survey.

The hushed cabin of an electric van is a key reason why drivers feel less stressed in an EV compared with a traditional petrol or diesel-powered versions, according to a new survey. Conducted by Fiat Professional, the Van Delivery Stress Test was used to get a better understanding of how cabin noise levels can impact a driver’s stress levels. 


Carried out in partnership with leading psychoacoustician Dr Duncan Williams, the study found that drivers sweated less and had a lower heart rate - as well as a lower overall body temperature - when driving an electric van compared with one powered by a diesel engine. Drivers also reported lower levels of stress in a Perceived Stress Questionnaire after driving Fiat’s electric e-Ducato. They said that the van’s ‘very low in-cabin noise levels’ were particularly noticeable and had an impact on reducing stress. 


In fact, a diesel-powered Ducato was found to be 10 decibels louder than the electric version. At nearly four times as loud, this is the difference between someone talking from one metre away versus shouting from the same distance. 


Dr Duncan Williams, Psychoacoustician, said: “We already know that noise on the roads is a real problem for people who aren’t part of the traffic but finding out how drivers respond behind the wheel is still very new territory. “The results clearly show, especially the readings from the smart watch, a strong correlation between the quietness of the E-Ducato and lower levels of stress in comparison to an ICE van.”


Those included in the study undertook a 20-minute route in London behind the wheel of the E-Ducato and the diesel version. The test was designed to include the experiences of a courier at work, with three drop-off locations set along the route. To ensure the experiment mirrored the real world, drivers were also given penalties for not completing the required route or drop-offs in a target time. 


Biometric results were taken via a wearable device called an Empatica E4. By doing so, specialists could monitor a driver’s skin temperature, sweat levels and heart rate while they completed the route. 

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