Why Your Dog Would Appreciate You Switching to an EV

Tesla Model S "Shooting Brake" 15 photos
Photo: Qwest Norfolk
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Dogs like EVs. It’s not us saying it, but a study. It proved our furry friends enjoy traveling in a zero-tailpipe emission vehicle. The researchers verified what canines prefer and the conclusion couldn’t be clearer – give up on the diesel-powered car for your pet’s motoring happiness.
If you have ever tried out an EV, then you might have experienced what the absence of an engine under the hood is like. No matter what your stance on zero-tailpipe emission propulsion is, there’s no denying that having no engine noise and vibration can help with increasing cabin comfort. So, if we’re pleased, are our pets happy as well? Let this recent study be the answer!

For many people around the world, dogs are an integral part of the family. There are golden retrievers out there living a better life than most people in various areas of the world. This tells us that some humans could consider changing their shopping behavior to suit their pet’s happiness. If you’re among them, then here’s what the experts say when it comes to getting a new ride.

The research uncovered that dogs are prone to get car sick more often when they travel in a vehicle that runs on diesel. They’re also a little bit more agitated. The same can’t be said when they ride along in an all-electric car – the dogs enjoy the silent powertrain. The data shows that vehicles like the Kia Soul EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, or the Audi Q8 e-tron are better for car-sick dogs. Mind you, not by a lot! Also, something important is missing from this study.

Tesla Dog Mode
Photo: Tesla
Here’s how they reached this conclusion and what else you should know about this topic.

Finding the answer

Researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, and CarGurus worked together on this recent study. They used 20 dogs and four cars – two Volkswagens and two Genesis models. The pets wore heart rate monitors and were driven around a closed circuit on Lincoln University’s campus. After finishing this route, they were also taken through a designated path through the city.

One of the professors involved in the study said this was a first-of-its-kind verification. The friendly pooches were sent on two 10-minute journeys with an EV and a diesel-powered car.

While the dogs were being treated as VIP tourists by being chauffeured around, an observer sat in the back of each vehicle and duly noted a couple of aspects regarding the pet’s behavior. They looked at things like salivating, whining, lip licking, and other similar factors while the heart monitor remained constantly connected. One-hour breaks were given to each of the dogs before embarking on their next journey. This way, the results were as clear as possible. Also, each furry friend had two minutes to get accustomed to the vehicle before the driving session began.

At the end of the test, one thing became clear – dogs like traveling in EVs better than in diesel-powered cars. While sitting inside the VW ID.3 and the Genesis Electrified GV70, the subjects were less fidgety and more relaxed. Similarly, two dogs that were known to have accentuated car sickness symptoms were calmer and did not show any signs of distress while staying inside the electric vehicles.

Another piece of good news is that the magnetic fields created by the electric motors in EVs seem to not affect dogs. This worried some pet owners. The result of the study sets this thing to rest.

Tesla Dog Mode
Photo: Tesla
The diesel-powered VW T-Roc and Genesis GV70 did not help with the pets’ comfort, even though both cars are pretty good in their segment.

The more you know, the better

But the researchers did not find out exactly why dogs like sitting in EVs more than in diesel-powered cars. They say this discovery needs more studying.

However, the advantages of traveling with an EV can be easily guessed with a comfortable amount of trust. Most of the EVs out there enjoy the benefits of one-pedal driving. Once you get to know your all-electric car, using the brake pedal becomes a thing needed only in dire situations. If the battery is at a proper temperature and its charge level allows it, letting the motors do all the stopping by recuperating energy is a clever trick that can smooth out the driving experience. Of course, not every EV comes with such a feature. Porsche, for example, doesn’t include it on the Taycan. However, Audi does this for all its EVs.

Tesla did the smartest thing in this regard and allowed its customers to select if they want their cars to automatically brake when one-pedal driving is not possible.

Enjoying a predictable stopping experience surely helps your passengers to feel better after finishing a trip. They'll enjoy the absence of an accentuated back-and-forth motion that can trigger car sickness. Unless you accelerate and show off that instantaneous torque, of course! Then all this doesn’t matter anymore.

Another cool thing about EVs is that they’re silent. The absence of an engine allows for a quieter cabin if sound deadening is done properly. Less noise has always been regarded as a luxurious feature, even though gearheads tend to love hearing their cars’ exhaust notes.

Tesla Model Y now has Track Mode
Photo: Tesla
There’s also the lower center of gravity that can improve maneuverability. If the suspension is tuned correctly your EV might not lean so much when you must tackle tricky mountain roads or when the possibility for a sporty driving session arises.

However, it’s important to note that for some people, riding in an EV can lead to heightened feelings of motion sickness. The full power of a tri-motor or quad-motor layout put to the ground is guaranteed to make almost anyone a little bit confused at first. But when driven normally, EVs should offer a couple of advantages over internal combustion engine cars.

On top of all this, technology is constantly evolving with electric cars. And it looks like it happens faster with EVs than with fossil fuel-hungry ones. Your beloved pet enjoys things like a dedicated mode which brings you some peace and, for them, much-needed comfort. Tesla and Rivian already offer such features. Granted, this does not help with motion sickness. But it surely contributes to a general state of well-being for everyone involved.

What about gas cars?

The study mentioned above used two EVs and two diesel-powered cars. It concluded that all-electric models are slightly better for dogs without looking at potentially good gas-powered cars. If we’re thinking about low noise, vibration, and harshness, then surely a thing like the Rolls-Royce Phantom would suit any pet in this world, right?

Pitbull Sitting Next to an Older Rolls\-Royce Sedan
The 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 is known for delivering power in one of the smoothest ways possible. The 60-degree configuration is balanced, and its advantages have been proven on several occasions in creative ways.

Remaining in the BMW universe, a car like the 540i xDrive (G30) with its in-line six-cylinder engine can also deliver a smooth driving experience. That's thanks to having fewer vibrations and producing more torque at lower speeds than a V6. However, other vehicles like the gas-powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the Audi A8 can offer similar levels of enriched comfort.

If the research for our pets’ motoring happiness continues at the University of Lincoln, then the professors ought to include a couple of equivalent gas-powered cars as well. Then, EVs might have to work harder to become the better option.

Finally, if you’re in the market for a new car and want your pet to feel better, then consider a good EV. But, at the same time, don’t forget that there are plenty of other options out there. I, for one, would not give up from the get-go on plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) which can make most short journeys on electricity alone. If you have the time, make sure to shortlist a few models and test them all out before pulling the trigger. It will surely help!
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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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