Some correspondence this week.

A reader writes from Australia to ask: is it safe to drive an EV if you have a pacemaker?

I confess that this subject hadn’t even crossed my mind. But fortunately it did cross the minds of some scientists from a university and a cardiovascular research centre in Munich and the Wellington Hospital in New Zealand, who in 2020 published the results of a study on it. In short, it’s not a problem.

They took 108 patients with various cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs, meaning pacemakers or defibrillators) and exposed them to the electromagnetic fields in four electric cars (a BMW i3, a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla Model S and a Volkswagen e-Up), both while driving under full power in a laboratory, so the field was as big as it could have been, and while charging.

EVs do produce electromagnetic fields (most notably around their batteries), but these are very well shielded to prevent interference with other on-board electronic systems.

The highest electromagnetic field that the researchers recorded was actually along a cable during a 32A charge, cables being less well shielded than the car itself.

The researchers did recommend further study into fast chargers, which today employ a much higher current and therefore a bigger electromagnetic fi eld than in their study, conducted late last decade, but at no point did any of their research find interference with any of the patients’ CIEDs.

Civic or Corolla? I’ll take the Citroen, thanks

98 Citroen c3 front

A friend who has no interest in cars writes for advice about buying one. He has on his shortlist a used Honda Civic and a newer Toyota Corolla hybrid.