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Tesla cars have been heralded as an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional vehicles. And while there are certainly some hard-to-ignore benefits of ownership, it’s also important to note that these cars aren’t without their flaws, either. Indeed, these cars expose drivers and passengers to significant amounts of EMF radiation.
Whether you’re considering purchasing a Tesla or you already own one, this guide is for you. We’re going to talk about how these cars produce EMF radiation, and what you can do to protect yourself from it.
Let’s get started.
How do Tesla cars work?
Teslas are fully electric vehicles, meaning they do not rely on traditional fuel in order to operate. Instead, each Tesla contains a very large lithium-ion battery — it weighs a few thousand pounds. A single battery charge can last over 300 miles, depending on the model. When the battery is depleted, the car must be charged at either a Tesla charging station or a traditional charging station using a Tesla converter.
Do Teslas create EMF radiation?
All cars produce EMF radiation. Teslas, however, have some features that contribute to higher-than-typical levels.
- Auto-pilot. According to the manufacturer, all new Tesla cars have the ability to drive themselves. This autopilot feature is hotly debated, primarily because of concerns around its safety. And while self-driving Teslas are actually safer than human drivers, statistically speaking, it turns out there is another reason they may be unsafe. The autopilot units rely, in part, on microwave radar sensors in order to detect potential obstacles. Radiation from the sensors may not reach into the passenger compartment of the vehicle, but it could be significant enough to affect others on the roadway. If everyone were to drive a car with microwave sensors, the resultant cumulative EMF levels could be quite high. Furthermore, it is possible to trick the sensors using radio interference, as shown in the video below.
- The inverter. The large lithium-ion batteries the Tesla uses for power is housed underneath the car’s frame. These batteries produce direct currents (DC). The engine, meanwhile, relies on alternating current (AC) to run. In order to turn the DC electricity created by the battery into something the engine can utilize, an inverter converts it into AC. In other scenarios, such as with solar panels and their inverters, this process results in the formation of dirty electricity. While it is unclear if the result is the same in a Tesla car, it is worth noting and being aware of.
- WiFi. On-board WiFi may seem like a convenient perk of Tesla ownership. The problem, however, is that WiFi produces tremendous amounts of RF-EMF radiation. RF-EMF radiation has been linked to cancer, fertility problems, and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS). To make matters worse, you are sitting inside a metal box with your WiFi signal, meaning any EMF radiation that is generated is trapped in with you.
- Bluetooth. Bluetooth makes it easy to instantly connect your phone to your car’s computer, allowing you to make or receive calls and texts and listen to music seamlessly. However, Bluetooth is another form of RF-EMF radiation. If you are taking advantage of on-board Bluetooth, you are exposing yourself and your passengers to high amounts of EMF radiation.
- Keyless operations. Tesla cars do not require a key to unlock the doors or to operate the vehicle. The key fob transmits a radio signal that is picked up on by sensors in the vehicle. As you may have guessed, however, this signal is a form of EMF radiation. And because the car is operated keylessly, it’s present in sporadic intervals during the entire time the vehicle is running. This isn’t a feature unique to Teslas, but it is a potential source of EMF radiation, nonetheless.
Now that you know how Tesla cars are exposing you to EMF radiation, let’s go over a few steps you can take to protect yourself. These steps don’t just apply to Teslas — they work for any vehicle, electric or otherwise.
- Don’t pair your phone. Avoid the temptation to pair your phone with the car’s Bluetooth. Instead, switch your phone to airplane mode. Not only is this less distracting, but you’ll be lowering your overall EMF radiation exposure. We can’t control the radiation produced by the car, so lowering your levels of exposure is really key.
- Don’t connect to WiFi. On that same note, don’t connect any devices to the car’s onboard WiFi. While it may seem like an easy way to entertain the kids, it’s not worth the added EMF radiation. Teslas don’t come with the option to turn the WiFi off, but you can at least minimize the number of devices connecting to it.
- Wear EMF protective gear. Examples of EMF protective gear include EMF blankets and clothing. These items can be worn or, in the case of the blanket, draped over the body. It’s a good idea to store an extra protective hoodie and blanket inside your car, so you always have them on hand.
- Keep the windows cracked. The metal frame of any vehicle helps keep EMF radiation trapped inside. Keeping the windows cracked allows for circulation, letting fresh air in and old air — and radiation — out. If your Tesla has a sunroof, leaving this open could further reduce your car’s interior EMF radiation levels.
- Turn off on-board computer systems. The on-board computer system inside a Tesla can be handy, especially for playing music or using navigation. However, the more you use the computer, the more EMF radiation you’re exposed to. Familiarize yourself with your route beforehand and opt to turn off the on-board computer system while you’re in the vehicle.
- Listen to pre-downloaded music via an auxiliary cable. To listen to music without Bluetooth or WiFi, use an auxiliary cable. If your Tesla doesn’t come standard with one installed, these are easy to have installed aftermarket. And if the music is pre-downloaded onto the device, you don’t have to worry about maintaining a connection with the cellular network as you listen, helping to lower your exposure even more.
- Leave the vehicle while it’s charging. Charging stations produce a tremendous amount of ELF-EMF radiation as they generate a charge. If you are inside your vehicle as it’s charging, you are then exposed to that radiation. To keep yourself safe, stay out of the vehicle while it’s connected to any charging station, whether it’s your station at home or a supercharger out on the road.
- Limit your exposure. If possible, don’t spend prolonged periods of time inside the vehicle. If you’re on a road trip, take frequent breaks to get outside. And if you’re close to home, consider walking or riding your bike instead of driving, at least some of the time. There really is no way to protect yourself completely from EMF radiation in a Tesla, so your best bet may be limiting the amount of time you spend in one.
Measuring your car’s EMF radiation levels
If you’re not convinced, consider checking your Tesla’s EMF levels for yourself. You can do this with a solid EMF meter. The TriField TF2 is an excellent higher-end option. For those on a budget, consider the Erickhill EMF Meter. Either choice will work here, so use whatever you have on hand or is easiest to obtain, so long as it’s capable of detecting both RF and ELF-EMF radiation.
To measure your car’s radiation levels, first, take a base measurement with the vehicle off. Do this from different spots around the car, including the floor compartments and around the steering wheel. Then, repeat this process with the car running. You can even enlist the help of a second person to take measurements as you drive the car, as they may be different when the engine is under load.
You will likely find that the measurements are highest near the autopilot compartment and lowest in the vehicle’s headspace. Another interesting test to try would be to test levels both with and without autopilot engaged.
Will Tesla cars utilize Starlink?
First, for those who aren’t familiar, Starlink is a satellite program started by Elon Musk, the man behind the Tesla company. The goal of Starlink is to blanket the entire Earth with an internet signal, providing internet access to areas that currently have none. While this may sound great in theory, it also may contribute to a global rise in EMF radiation levels.
Tesla cars likely will connect to Starlink satellites. That means they will always be connected to WiFi, no matter where you are. That is not only a problem from an EMF standpoint but also when you consider privacy. Your vehicle’s whereabouts and information about your driving habits can constantly be transmitted back to a source. For those who take their privacy seriously, that can be pretty concerning.
Tesla as a company is worth over $34 billion. They sold over 367,000 vehicles in 2019. All of these vehicles have the ability to self-drive, come with on-board WiFi and Bluetooth, and have large lithium-ion batteries. In other words, they all produce tremendous amounts of EMF radiation.
If you own a Tesla or are considering purchasing one, be sure to take common-sense steps to reduce your exposure. Put your phone on airplane mode. Crack the window and sunroof. And don’t sit in the car while it’s charging. Following steps such as these will lower your overall EMF radiation exposure levels and help keep you safe.