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Do EVs Have Exhaust?

Generic electric car with battery visible x-ray charging at public charger in city parking lot with lens flare 3d render.

When I was planning to get my first EV, I did some extensive research into how these vehicles function. I wanted something fun and cheap to operate. This led me to several websites that sell inexpensive EVs from manufacturers like Fiat, Nissan, Toyota, and others.

However, I noticed one thing about the majority of electric vehicles that are on these websites; they don’t have exhaust pipes. So is this the case for all EVs? Upon doing further research, here are some of the things I found out. 

Do EVs Have an exhaust System?

Electric cars, as you might imagine, run on electricity. Unlike gas-powered vehicles that burn up liquid components to generate power, electric cars do not rely on combustion. As a result, there is no need for an exhaust system. Putting an exhaust system on a car that is fully powered by electricity would be superfluous.

The whole idea behind the design of electric cars is to ensure more fuel-efficient vehicles with fewer emissions. Therefore, instead of having an internal combustion engine, electric cars feature an electric motor. That’s the reason why electric cars do not have an exhaust system. 

If you are wondering how electric cars move if they don’t burn fuel, well, the explanation is quite simple. The power needed to drive the electric motor comes from a rechargeable lithium battery.

You can use the power generated by these batteries without the need to expel exhaust fumes. Any emissions that might be released by an electric car are released after powering off the engine and not as a direct cause. 

Does This Mean Electric Cars Don’t Have Tailpipes?

Close up photo of a clean car muffler.

The short answer is yes. The majority of electric cars do not come with tailpipes. However, some owners may choose to install tailpipes as aftermarket additions. One thing to note here is that just because a tailpipe has been added, it doesn’t mean that the car will start releasing fumes.

Most people who add tailpipes to their electric vehicles just do so for show. The production of power from the lithium battery found on electric vehicles does not produce emissions. Even if some gas is released, it will be far less than what you would normally notice with a gas-driven car. 

Because electric cars do not produce emissions, it’s not really necessary to add a tailpipe. One of the most long-standing myths is that electric vehicles are more harmful to the environment than gas-powered vehicles. This can’t be further from the truth.

Electric cars don’t produce noxious fumes. The false equivalencies that most people mention are only based on surface-level evidence and not actual science-backed studies. Regardless of how you charge your electric vehicle, you will still produce far fewer greenhouse gases than when you run a gas-powered vehicle. 

Do Electric Vehicles Have Mufflers?

The noise produced by gas-powered vehicles is a result of the processes that take place in internet combustion engines. As we have mentioned before, there is no combustion in electric vehicles. As such, you will find that EVs offer a smoother, quieter ride than gas-powered vehicles.

If you find yourself wondering whether there is a muffler in an electric vehicle, this is not a concern that any EV owner will have to deal with. An electric motor does not make noise when it’s running. As a result, there is no need to use a muffler at all.

The moment you upgrade to an electric vehicle, your days of dealing with loud engine noises will be a thing of the past. As you may imagine, electric cars have become the popular choice among those who are looking for ways to reduce noise pollution.

Related: Different Types of Mufflers for Cars

How Do Electric Cars Alert Pedestrians?

An EV stopped as people crossing on a pedestrian lane.

This is a valid concern. Because electric cars don’t produce noise, it’s correct to assume that civilians have to depend on vision to detect if a car is coming. Fortunately, this top has been covered by the U.S. government already.

Pedestrians are encouraged to remain alert in high-traffic areas. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 sought to ensure added safety for pedestrians by tasking the Department of Transportation to look into and establish proper standards for electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are not totally silent. However, the sounds they produce are far less than what you get with gas-powered vehicles. To make roads safer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration passed a ruling that requires electric cars traveling under 18.6 MPH to emit a warning sound.

The requirement is that the warning sounds produced by electric vehicles should be louder than any other background noise. It took a bit of time to arrive at a level of noise that automakers needed to achieve without being too loud. 

What About Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles?

A white dazzling car along the road.

If you have done a lot of research into electric vehicle technology, you have probably come across plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These cars pretty much offer the best of both worlds. You can get a decent electric range for local drives and the safety net of a gas-powered engine if you are not totally ready for the switch to fully electric vehicles.

If you spend a lot of time on motorways and you don’t have access to chargers regularly, it makes sense to go with a diesel car or self-charging hybrid. They are a lot cheaper to buy and offer great fuel economy. 

As you might imagine, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have an exhaust system. This is because they have a fully functional internal combustion system. As such, they burn liquid fuels to generate power. Just like a fully electric vehicle, the battery of a plug-in hybrid is charged by plugging into a charging point.

On the other hand, the internal combustion engine requires you to fill up the tank as you would a normal gas-powered vehicle. The majority of plug-in hybrids use petrol. You can also find diesel-powered versions, but they are a bit complicated to produce, which makes them rather expensive. 

When your battery is fully charged, the car will use the battery. There are instances where your journey will be longer than what the battery can manage. When that happens, the car will switch to a gas-powered engine. It is at that moment that the car will start producing exhaust gases.

The number of components found in a plug-in hybrid vehicle is double what you find in an electric vehicle or a gas-powered one. You get the fully electric system and all the components found in a regular internet combustion engine. 

How Efficient Are Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles?

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are quite efficient. This means that even if they have a functional exhaust system, they won’t release as many greenhouse gases as a full gas-powered vehicle. Plug-in hybrid EVs use about 30% to 60% less liquid fuel than conventional vehicles.

As mentioned before, this means there are fewer greenhouse gases emitted. However, to fully account for the gases produced, you also need to factor in how the electricity used to charge the plug-in hybrid is generated. 

In any case, you will still find that plug-in hybrid vehicles are way more efficient, and their use results in lower levels of pollution. If you use the plug-in hybrid for a short distance, like traveling to and from work on a daily basis, you may not even have to use the gas-powered engine. The range on these cars is enough as long as you don’t go too far.

Do Some People Add Fake Exhaust Pipes to Their Cars?

Close up photo of a newly installed echaust pipe.

There is no limit to what people can do when it comes to embellishing their vehicles. Companies that design electric cars will not bother to install fake exhaust pipes because it’s an unnecessary cost. However, this does not stop people from making the decision to add a fake exhaust.

They can do so if they choose. However, you will find that it’s not a very common modification among EV owners. Still, we can’t assume that it has never happened before. As long as electric cars still have the same design as traditional gas-powered vehicles, people can add fake exhaust pipes. In most instances, it’s just a matter of the aesthetic appeal.