NISSAN took to the streets of one of Europe’s quietest villages during the middle of the night with a “silent ride” of its 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF.
The activity, complete with a start and finish line in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur marked the 19th annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) and was designed to demonstrate the noise reduction levels of the zero emissions car compared with traditional combustion engines.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says at least 13.5 per cent of Europeans are exposed to road traffic noise at levels exceeding 55 decibels (dB), which is considered detrimental to human health. The medical effects of noise levels include insomnia (50dB), obesity (50dB), psychic disorders (60dB) and reduction in life expectancy (50dB). As a result, Nissan filmed the “silent ride” to help support INAD in raising awareness about noise pollution levels across Europe.
The video stunt shows four Nissan LEAF vehicles racing around the backstreets of the French village at high speeds without waking anyone up. Members of the village were filmed while they slept to monitor their reactions.
The running noise of the Nissan LEAF engine is 21dB, recording less noise than a ceiling fan (26dB) – way below the World Health Organisation’s night-time noise target for Europe of 40dB.
Launched by the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), INAD aims to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to noise on hearing and health – including emotional and physical health problems such as impaired mental performance, high blood pressure and increased risk of motor vehicle injuries.
CHC executive director Laurie Hanin said: “International Noise Awareness Day was initiated by the Center for Hearing and Communication in 1995 in order to increase public awareness about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health, and general well-being.
“As a result, many thousands have had their hearing screened and many more have been educated in the numerous ways to prevent exposure to hazardous levels of noise.
“It is exciting to see Nissan showing off the benefits of their all-electric car, the Nissan LEAF, in this video highlighting that as well as being friendly to the environment, it is also friendly to the community by reducing noise pollution. Congratulations and good luck in this endeavour.”
Launched four years ago, the zero-emissions Nissan LEAF continues to provide consumers with the benefits of an all-electric car – a quiet and dynamic driving experience, lower operating costs, the increased convenience of charging at home and less scheduled maintenance – at a price after tax incentives that rival comparable gas-powered vehicles.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, director of electric vehicles, Nissan Europe, commented: “One thing that surprises people most about the Nissan LEAF is the feeling of near-silence. It is incredibly liberating and makes for a very relaxing driving experience. Most of the noise you hear when a Nissan LEAF is running at low speed in town is actually artificially created to help alert pedestrians to the vehicle’s presence.
“Electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF will play a very large role in the move to create ‘smarter cities’ worldwide – cities that aim to create smart solutions for a range of city problems from air pollution to traffic congestion. The goal is to build cities like these where people drive electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF and the new e-NV200, which will launch in June – this is a concept that Nissan supports wholeheartedly and aims to be a part of now and in years to come.”
The UK, France and Italy are the countries worst affected by traffic noise during the day (levels higher than 55dB), resulting in higher risks of cardiovascular diseases and premature death, according to official figures.