Electric vehicle charging

  I'm looking into purchasing an electric vehicle as gas prices have skyrocketed where I live. I've read a number of studies showing that riding in a fully electric vehicle doesn't pose significant risk to a pacemaker's functionality. I have also been in an electric vehicle with no adverse effects.

  The area of concern for me comes in regards to charging. The vehicle I'm looking at has the ability to charge from a standard 110v household outlet. As such, I assume it poses no greater risk in regard to Electromagnetic interference than plugging in any other household appliance (please correct me if I'm wrong) would.

  The concern is with public 220 volt fast chargers. I am worried about the potential effect to my pacemaker when connecting the vehicle to one of these devices.

  If anyone can offer insight or point me towards a definitive answer, it would be greatly appreciated.


Electric vehicle chargers

by AgentX86 - 2021-07-03 14:00:06

That's actually a very good question.  Questions, really.  Certainly charging from a standard household 120V supply isn't going to be a problem but it's also going to take forever (days).  A rapid, charger, probably not.  DC current isn't going to be much of a problem. 

It's the AC that would concern me, particularly the magnetic fields from the motors.  Others here aren't concerned but my EP has laid down the law, in this one area.  Large motors and alternators are forbidden, within a couple of feet.  Sitting on a motor would probably violate that rule.  Sitting on an alternator certainly does, specifically.  The guy is mowing my lawn right now, because my EP won't let me near the tractor. 
Talk to your EP.  That's the best answer you're going to get.


Much appreciated

by That_1_Canadian_Guy - 2021-07-03 17:01:45

Thanks for the input @AgenX86. I will try to get some answers via that route. Failing that I'd imagine my cardiologist may be able to help (or at the very least point me in the right direction)


by Persephone - 2021-07-03 18:01:26

Hi That Guy - I'm guessing you've seen this article/ study summary or similar: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1127809_study-electric-cars-and-pacemakers-are-a-safe-combination-with-some-precautionshttps.  Yours is definitely an interesting and important question as we move away from the use of petroleum to power automobiles.  I wouldn't guess your cardiologist is going to have much in the way of answers but could be wrong.  I'd go to the manufacturer(s) of the vehicle(s) your considering purchasing and the organization / advocacy group/ local govt agency that's pushing vehicle electrification in your area to get some perspective.  You can call the vehicle manufacturers directly (not the dealership) - they have staff to answer your questions.  Let us know what you find, if you wouldn't mind.


by AgentX86 - 2021-07-03 19:53:34

I will disagree here.  Manufacturers have a metric boatload of lawyers.  Asking them about any danger is going to get a "yes".  Look at the Apple thread just a few days ago.

Your EP is the place to go for information.  He is the one who knows your situation the best.  Many would have little or no problem if their pacemaker just stopped working.  Others may feel badly, while others may collapse in a heap.  The manufacturer's lawyers don't know anything about you.


Will be interesting to monitor

by Persephone - 2021-07-03 22:14:38

For comparison purposes, a group of sight-disabled persons in my state objected to hybrid vehicle deployment (this was before fully electric vehicles) due to reduced noise from the vehicle and related safety issues for blind people trying to navigate/ cross roadways on foot.  They got something done with federal regulations to ensure a sound is emitted from the vehicle.  Maybe we people with pacemakers need to make our comments and concerns heard as vehicle electrification expands.  We all need transportation, and there will be more of us with PMs going forward.  Ideas?


by dwelch - 2021-07-04 10:34:49

I will chime in here.

EP's are not electrical engineers and are not expected to have a clue about this topic, at best they call the rep for the device (a doc at best not an EE either) and generally the answer for this will be no for legal fear reasons not for actual science fact.

The manufactures of each product are also going to take the legal fear approach and say dont do it.

I cant see what plugging in could possibly do with undamaged equipment (these things have passed regulatory to be able to be generally available, etc...).  

Now hugging the box on the wall that does the rapid charging, that is another story.  It should be shielded in a box, go look up our friends faraday and gauss.   Same goes for the vehicle, it is going to have sheilding between you and the motor.  I cant see how an EV would have an alternator, it is already electric and has a motor to convert back and forth.  (gas and other non electric fuel/enery based can/will and those are fine as they are a long way away from your device.

The one I am actually interested in is the experiments with in road charing, where there is a field under the car at a stop light.  Completely impractical (there is nothing green about electricity by the way it is as nasty as other solutions) for a few reasons, but still that is a serious field you are exposing the vehicle, passengers, pedestrians, etc.

EV's are sadly going to be the norm for a while, decades, before someone wants to replace them with the next green or cheap or whatever solution.  Engineers are well versed in our friends faraday and gauss, and depending on where you work, a fair amount of law as well.  While researchers and startups might mess up, mass produced products will have been designed and tested, and have the appropriate amount of legal protection.  Now if it turns out that every company starts to say you cannot have a medical device of some sort, cannot use/carry a mobile phone near our product, etc.  There will be some backlash and/or regulation.

I have been in sub stations I have walked next to generators in a dam, etc.  Fortunately no side effects.  I would not hesitate to use a lawn mower, electric vehicle, plug or unplug an electric vehicle, a hair dryer.  I probably would not pinch an iphone 12 between my shoulder and ear, but I dont do that with mobiles anyway and I have androids and not iphones.  

You need a big field, em fields go like the surphase of a sphere one over the distance squared (plus even more scaling factors).  so 2 inches away is 4 times less energy than 2.  3 inches is 9 times less 4 is 16 times less, that is why for magnets they often just say 6 inches.  I have been in the presense of big transformers that affect the operation of old fashioned crt montors, but the gauss meter showed I would have to literally hug the transformer to be in a high enough field (at that time the pacer vendor actually gave us info on the field strenths we should avoid).

The bottom line is there is NOBODY that is going to give you a straight answer in the age of laywers.  Including your EP.  Many folks will know the science but will not have the proper information from the various vendors as to what to look for or expect.  My understanding is a strong enough field at the right frequency can confuse the devices ability to detect your natural singals in order to decide what it needs to drive/change per heart beat.  Remove yourself from the field (or be dragged away if you pass out based on your condition) and the problem goes away.

So while there is an actual answer, it is impossible to get, and unfortunately you wont get get it here, your doctors office, or calling a vendor.  You have to manage your fears and decide on your trust level of the system (rules, regs, engineers, laywers, marketing, etc).  For example the risk of electrocution simply touching the car, being in the car, plugging the charger into the car, this is morely likely to happen than anything pacer related.  And highest risk for brand new cars and aged cars, there is a period somewhere in the middle where that risk goes down, but then it starts to curve up as the car ages.  Assuming your mechanic doesnt get killed from the car or better yet mechanics refuse to work on electric vehicles due to the high risk...

Electrical Engineer

by AgentX86 - 2021-07-04 11:45:39

First, it's not an inverse square law.  In the near field the field decreases inveresly with distance (1/r).  In the far field the decrease is 1/r^3.  Where is the dividing line?  Technically, it's where the two magnetic poles can't be distinguished but of course it's fuzzy in real life.   It depends on how large your sensor is.  In this case, it's dependent on the size of the motor and the lenght of your leads, plus or minus some fuzzy math.

To give an analogy, the brightness of the sun is exactly the same, whether you're one foot from it, or on the moon (no atmosphere to ruin the analogy).  Once the size of the sun's disc can't be "resolved" (seen as a disc), the brightness falls off at 1/r^2.  Where does this happen?  Again, it depends. on how large the object and how large the telescope - how big of a disc can it resolve (resolution in arc-seconds), which is a function of its diameter.

The difference between magnets going from 1/r to 1/r^3 and brighness of stars (1 to 1/r^2) is that magnets are dipoles and light a monopole.  That is, a magnet has two poles (N and S).

No, EPs are not electrical engineers but they do have some training in PMs and the theory that goes along with their use.  How many corporate lawyers (non-IP type) know anything about pacemakers *OR* electrical engineering. Calling the manufacturer is only going to get the corporate (i.e. liability lawyers) line.

You can trust your lawyer to take care of your PM.  I'll listen to the person with whom I've already have entrusted my life. He know your situation better than any corporate lawyer.

...and yes, I am an electrical engineer.


Let's see what's next

by Persephone - 2021-07-04 12:57:30

Right, my point is that full electrification of the vehicle fleet is expected by ~2035, so we with medical devices should contribute our concerns to the discussion.  I will look at the studies - haven't yet read them since my work isn't directly related to EVs and I couldn't afford one now anyway, even with the (sometimes available) tax incentives.

Electrical vehicle discussion

by islandgirl - 2021-07-06 08:32:39

Interesting regarding electric vehicles.  I am contemplating purchasing an electric vehicle within the next couple of years.

I have an appt with my EP next week.  My EP started his career as a particles engineer with NASA, so he may have some answers.  I'll share his response.

Electric cars and chargers are safe.

by DouglasRachac - 2021-07-06 16:38:25

Pretty much everything is safe as long as you aren't hugging it.  Electric car chargers and cords are no different.  


Medtronic even says so in print on their patient website asktheicd dot com.  No lawyer talk, just a straight answer.  http://asktheicd.com/tile/538/english-everyday-living/can-i-drive-a-tesla-or-other-electric-car/ 


Don't hug the power cord, or the charging port, or the wall charging unit and you'll be fine.  There are multiple studies out there now that confirm that.  Good thing too.  My wife just took delivery of her Mustang Mach-E.  


by Persephone - 2021-07-07 14:46:19

Whoa, sounds like a fun drive!  We're supposed to be getting one or more at work to satisfy clean fleet requirements - maybe I'll be able to take it out for a spin (or will the executives keep it for themselves? :)

Thanks for sharing the link.

Actually, my EP is an Electrical Engineer.

by Elisabet - 2021-07-08 17:46:21

Just thought I'd throw that in there. Apparently it's not a typical pre-med undergraduate degree, but it made sense for the medical field he wanted to go into. 


by Persephone - 2021-07-08 20:23:56

That's a great combination, Elisabet - it's my understanding that some chem Es go on to get the medical degree, but I don't hear about EEs that much.  Plenty of both areas probably go into medical research, and we regular folks just don't interact with them.  My EE son is in a PhD program now but it appears that his grant is not specifically medically oriented although he worked on brain science as undergrad.  I've got the EE too, but veered off into environmental work many years ago.

4 months and no problems

by Goo5e - 2021-07-13 16:11:45

I've owned an e-Niro for 4 months and no issues charging AC or DC, slow charging, fast charging, public chargers or my home 7Kw charger. 

Thanks everyone for the input

by That_1_Canadian_Guy - 2021-10-24 17:58:02

My apologies for not replying to everyone who commented, the last few months have been rather busy. Upon conferring with my EP, he stated that in my case an electric vehicle was perfectly safe (he made a point of saying he would prefer not to make a blanket statement about pacemaker recipients in general). I took delivery of my new 2021 Hyundai Ioniq at the end of August and have no issues related to my pacemaker and EMF generated by the vehicle during operation or charging. Again, I appreciate and am grateful to everyone who weighed in on the subject.. 

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