Magnetic fields from electric cars pose no danger

May 06, 2014 // By Paul Buckley
Drivers and passengers can feel safe from magnetic fields generated by electric-powered cars according to the findings of researchers from seven countries and led by SINTEF, the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia.

The research results show that none of the vehicle types, including electric-powered cars as well as those powered by hydrogen, petrol and diesel fuels, expose passengers to higher electromagnetic fields than those recommended in international standards. In fact, field intensity is well below the recommended value.

SINTEF led the research project which involved nine other European companies and research institutes.

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

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

The intensity of magnetic fields in seven different electric cars, one hydrogen car and one petrol car were measured in order to ascertain whether they approach the recommended limiting values for human exposure. The measurements were carried out using real cars in a laboratory and during road tests.

The highest values in electric cars 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 per cent of the limiting value recommended by the ICNIRP. Measurements taken at head-height are less than two per cent of the same limiting value.

In the case of petrol and diesel powered cars, exposure was measured at around 10 per cent of the limiting value. In other words, there is little difference between electric cars and petrol and diesel cars. As a result the conclusion is that magnetic fields in electric cars are well below the limiting values, and that there is a good safety margin.

“There is a good deal of public concern about exposure to magnetic fields. The subject crops up regularly in the media. With the number of electric-powered vehicles increasing, this project is very relevant,” explained Kari Schjølberg-Henriksen, a