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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've been an Ioniq EV 2019 owner for about 3 weeks or so now, and I absolutely love the car. Seriously, I'm not a car guy, but there's something about EVs and this one in particular that is just so... fun.

But over the last couple of days, I've started to notice more and more an incredibly high pitched whine - likely a coil whine - whenever my foot is on the pedal. It doesn't matter if I'm going 20, 30, 50, or 75 MPH - if my foot is pressing down on the pedal and I'm going forward, I can hear it. Its so high pitched that most of my family above the age of 40 or so can't hear it at all, but my 26 year old ears can hear it even over the radio. The weird thing is I don't remember hearing this the first two weeks of owning the car, but I can be convinced that it was always there and I was just so excited to drive this thing that I blocked it out.

My question is, for those of you capable of hearing such high frequencies - can you hear this on your EV? Is it normal and expected of EVs? Or is this something I should attempt to get looked at by Hyundai service?

Thanks all!
 

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I'm over 30-years old and can't hear anything relating to the powertrain, your case could be of the reduction gear / motors bearings that have a couple of documented cases over the forums.
 

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I would get Hyundai to look it over. My 2017 only makes a electric motor sound when I push it. Otherwise silent except for road noise. I agree with PetteriSeppänen you might have something wrong with the reduction gear or motor. Hopefully they won't put up a fuss with you as that should fall under the powertrain warranty.
 

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The transformer converting DC battery power to AC motor power has a frequency whine of about 50 kHz at full load, safely above human hearing. However, there can be subharmonics generated that you might hear, including the initial press on the pedal. Resonant frequencies can change as electric coils loosen so it is entirely possible there was no audible whining when you first drove your new car.

I'd suggest driving some other EV cars if you can and see if you can hear similar sounds to make sure it is not just the one car.
 

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I tried to listen more closely this afternoon, nothing. The ioniq seems to make less whining (inverter / motor) sounds than past EVs. Sometimes it makes a very funny small engine like noise; I think that is the heat pump.

But, I'm over 60 and have tinnitus too (around 8 kHz now) on one side.

You might be able to see something measurable with a smartphone audio "spectrum analyzer" App. Probably better if you have an assistant on board for that one.
 

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I also have sensitive hearing. Mine is pretty well silent. Other than the noise generator. You may need to have it checked but here is a suggestion. You can get a cell phone sound meter ap and try to pin down the freq. if you do, let me know and I will run it on mine as well. I do have snow tires which may change my sounds. You will need to note all accessory status (I suggest everything off), speed and road type. Also weather (recommend dry).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all! I'll download a cell phone sound meter app and try to nail down the frequency when I go out for lunch today in a few hours, and will post back with the results. I appreciate it all.
 

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Try to get a free one that does per octave band readings. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Try to get a free one that does per octave band readings. Good luck.
So I just went out for lunch and recorded a sample using dB Meter on iOS. I'm a video guy, not an audio guy, so I admit I'm doing this without much experience - sorry!

I exported the CSV it generated and am attaching it here. I also threw the CAF raw audio file into Adobe Audition CC and I can see when the whine gets its loudest and most piercing - when I really put my foot down more on the pedal. I'm attaching a screenshot of what I'm looking at as well if this helps at all.

Road conditions were damp - not bone dry, as it had rained earlier, but also not raining. All heat, AC, any sort of accessories off and nothing plugged in.

I can also share the raw audio file if that helps.
 

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I sometimes hear that. The place where I hear it most often is a steep narrow downill road between two stone walls that reflect sound.

It is definitely electronic and not great whine, I have read elsewhere that it is inverter sound under regenerative braking. That sounds right to me, the high current will induce vibrations.
 

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Interesting spike around 15K, which many are not going to be able to hear. Do you ever hear that under regen as Chris108 suggests, or only under acceleration?
 

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Interesting spike around 15K, which many are not going to be able to hear. Do you ever hear that under regen as Chris108 suggests, or only under acceleration?
15K is around the lower frequencies that bats use. In my youth I could hear them, but with tinnitus alas, not any more.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I was just driving home and happened to roll down my window for the first time in a while, and I was shocked at how loud the noise is with the window down. Its so loud and piercing my first instinct was to actually roll them back again, but I figured it'd be a decent idea to do another audio analysis with the windows down. Heat off, window rolled down. Nothing plugged in. See attached.

Also, with the windows rolled down I can confirm for sure this also happens while regenerating. It doesn't seem to be quite as piercing when I'm using regen, but its still very much audible.

31452
 

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You must have good high frequency hearing. My 18 year old daughter doesn't like the windows down because it bothers her. I can only hear it when it is loud and reflected back, and even then it sounds quiet to me.
 

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My UK EV is pretty quiet. All I hear is tyre noise.
in the UK we can turn VESS off. not sure if you can in the US.
presume it’s not that, that’s making the noise.
 

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My UK EV is pretty quiet. All I hear is tyre noise.
in the UK we can turn VESS off. not sure if you can in the US.
presume it’s not that, that’s making the noise.
No mine is a UK HEV without VES. It is an extremely high pitched wine, and I can only hear it going slowly with high regenerative braking between sound reflective walls, particularly of the window is open.

Young people can hear it a lot better though, and it is evidently quite annoying to them with the windows open.
 

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This forum discusses the cause, which they put down to the inverter


(my electrical knowledge may be rusty, please correct me if I have anything wrong) Basically the inverter produces a frequency that is the rpm of the motor times the number of magnets in the motor. This is usually at the edge of human hearing, or above at high motor speed. The torque is determined by the current and the width of the pulses. On the thread someone suggests that the sound can be mitigated by designing the PWM controller to stagger the pulse widths. The PWM is the Pulse Width Modulation controller, the thing that decides how long each pulse lasts. I am not sure if he is right about this when it comes to the sound from regeneration, and for the sound when powering the motor I think that tinkering with the width to avoid noise will reduce efficiency by not applying the current at the mose efficient points in rotation.

You will also see from the thread that quite a few other cars have this whine too.
 

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In the 2017 model EV you can hear the same effect.

It sounds the same as an industrial frequency controller running an electrical engine at variable frequencies. (except for the air cooling)

Ioniq has a synchronous electric motor. The permanent magnet follows the generated rotating magnetic field. And when moving also self-generates an induction voltage in the motorcoils.

To generate a rotating magnetic field a sinus shaped electric current has to be running through the coils of the electric motor.

Generating a sinus shaped AC-current from a DC power source needs chopping up of the DC voltage to alternate the voltage having the outgoing current raising or lowering and moving from positive into negative.

For efficiency the chopping takes place at about 40-60kHz blocks with a lot of high pitch electrical signals but most of them are kept inside the frequency controller by extra (low pass) electronic filters so they don't get out.

Some other sounds/signals are getting out,
The AC current going over to the motor at different varying frequencies depending on the speed and level increasing when more torque is used. (maintain speed, accelerating or decelerating)
Part of the chopped voltage comming through the filters (probably this can be heared) and maybe also switching to different static frequencies depending on the speed.
The voltage raising and lowering over the motorcoils to generate the needed AC current to drive the motor with part of the chopping riple voltage on it. The coils can be heared as well depending on the frequency and quality of the coils.
The switching components in the controller need cooling and are mounted mechanically to the housing and cooling area at some point. They also pass over part of the frequencies to the housing and make parts vibrate. You will hear this in the range the human hearing can.


The soundlevel from the frequency converter and the coils in electric motor is pretty high at high power, but at low/medium power I find it acceptable.

Concept (pieces):


 

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Discussion Starter #20
Interesting. I imagine this is nothing that a service center could mitigate with the current design - it would probably require some sort of reworking from engineering to truly mitigate this?

Either way, I noticed it again today while driving and think I am going to make an appointment at a local service center to have it looked at. I drove about 45 minutes worth of city driving today and by the end of it I think the noise actually gave me quite the headache. Whoever above said that its worse when between two solid objects, like a building on either side of you is 100% on point - though I can hear it all the time, it becomes almost maddening then.

I also had my girlfriend in the car with me tonight - also 26 yo - and she said she could hear it clear as day as well. Though I'm not expecting much, I really hope that something can be done because I'm really not sure how I'll be able to put up with this for three years as per the terms of my lease. Its turned driving the car from a joy to a bit of a sour experience.
 
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