HomeLifeDriveWhy EVs are causing more motion sickness

Why EVs are causing more motion sickness

Electric cars (EVs) are becoming more and more popular each year. But a growing number of people are reporting motion sickness after being in one for the first time. Why does this happen?

Thinking of test-driving an EV? You might not want to have a big breakfast before you do, in case you experience motion sickness, which  you usually wouldn’t in a traditional petrol-driven car.

Search through car forums or social media sites like Reddit and you’ll find complaint after complaint from people saying that they, or a passenger in their vehicle, are regularly feeling sick after being in an EV.

Anyone who’s ever been carsick on a long drive knows it’s an awful and debilitating feeling you want to avoid at all costs.

Typically, you’ll feel nauseous and begin sweating. The colour drains from your face and many people report headaches and reduced cognitive abilities.

Around 25-30 per cent of the population regularly experiences motion sickness, and travelling in a car is probably the most common trigger for it.

Experiencing motion sickness as a passenger is more common than as a driver, as you are not in control of the vehicle’s motion and are therefore unable to anticipate its trajectory.

Why would motion sickness happen more in an EV?

There’s no doubt that EVs are much quieter than traditional engines, and the drive feels much smoother. But it’s precisely these qualities that are making motion sickness worse in some people.

When you’re in a traditional car, you’re receiving many different audio, visual and physical feedback cues all being processed by your brain.

You’re feeling the vibration of the engine through the floor and hearing the engine grow louder and softer as acceleration changes. For most people, decades of car travel have conditioned their brains to stabilise all this sensory input and keep them feeling ‘normal’.

But with EVs, those audio, visual and physical cues are mostly absent. The cars accelerate and decelerate silently, the engine doesn’t vibrate and even putting your foot down delivers power to the wheels far more quickly than a traditional car, making acceleration faster but sometimes ‘jolting’ the driver unexpectedly.

While this sounds good in theory, it also has the potential to make your brain freak out a little. Your brain is picking up that you are moving quickly, but the lack of audio and visual clues means it’s having trouble piecing together why you’re moving – and that is throwing off your balance.

A normal consequence of being off-balance is feeling dizzy, and this is what’s making you feel sick.

EVs also use what’s known as ‘regenerative braking’. This is a system where the brakes generate force automatically while the driver’s foot is off the accelerator. Many people report this system can feel like their car is applying brake pressure when they aren’t expecting it, again throwing off their balance.

“I drive in an electric vehicle a lot, and I’ve found that regenerative braking absolutely makes me motion sick,” one Reddit user reported.

“I’m not always driving, so I don’t always have control of how it’s being driven, so other people’s driving really makes me sick.”

What can you do about it?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do from your vehicle’s perspective to mitigate the effects of motion sickness at the moment. Traditional car sickness treatments such as anti-nausea medication and taking regular breaks while driving are still your best course of action.

But the vehicle manufacturers have taken notice of the problem and are working on a number of novel solutions.

So far, it’s been software that has the best results in reducing the effects. Honda has reportedly used software to delay power delivery to the wheels when the driver puts their foot down to slow acceleration, while Hyundai has addressed the problem by adding fake engine noises that play through your stereo.

It will be interesting to see the different ways vehicle manufacturers, and perhaps even the public, will come up with to deal with this problem.

Have you been in an EV? Did you experience any motion sickness? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Why EVs lose their value far more quickly

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. I am glad this subject has been brought up! When I got my Cupra Born, I could not understand as a driver that I would feel nauseated when driving this wonderful car. I am not one that gets car sick. I found that from the selection of car driving modes provided, I felt best on the basic “Range” mode which does not have the various control elements being engaged to enhance your driving experience. I also find that it does make a difference to drive when possible with the windows open instead of using A/C as a default. I did notice when driving with the A/C on in the Cupra, that it had a different air pressure/ volume impact on my ears as against my preferred experience that I had with driving my old 2009 ICE VW Golf.

- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -


- Advertisment -

Log In

Forgot password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.