Electric Jaguars will be tested to prevent them disrupting household appliances

Jaguar Land Rover has opened a new testing center to ensure its latest breed of power-hungry electric cars don’t disrupt TV screens and smartphones.

The new facility in Warwickshire will make sure electronic items are shielded from its cars and vice versa, a growing challenge as battery-powered vehicles connect to more and more data. The new Range Rover Sport, which launched earlier this year, was the first vehicle to undergo the testing, blasted with 4G, 5G, WiFi and GPS signals to ensure it could cope.

For most people, the memory of a passing car turning a television screen to a washout of static will be a distant one, but the phenomenon risks returning due to electric vehicles.

Electric cars are more at risk of radio wave interference because they operate at higher voltages with more current, which can deliver a stronger electromagnetic field.

Peter Phillips, of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “EVs are much more challenging” because of the higher electrical power they manage.

“If you have an EV today, you will take your electric vehicle home, you plug it into your charger in the garage, what you don’t want while that car’s charging is for it to cause interference with the radio or the television at home ,” he said, adding that without testing, plugging in a lawnmower while charging your car could also shut the charger off.

As well as the higher voltage issues, the range of sensors and safety features added to all cars – both combustion and battery-powered – is another challenge. Cameras, radar and other sensors need to be kept free of interference to work.

“Automation is part of it,” Mr Phillips added. “Some radar systems on the cars are working on the electromagnetic radio spectrum, autonomous adaptive cruise control has a radar in front of the car.”

Car makers have to meet strict rules to be able to sell their cars in most markets and comply with the law.

But beyond the legal basics, car makers want Bluetooth and WiFi to work in their cars so that drivers can play music, receive calls whilst driving and get live map data.

In practice, strict regulations have meant that starting and running a car has been possible without disrupting a neighbour’s enjoyment of a TV program but the fast-evolving nature of electric car technology makes testing prudent.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to make Jaguar’s lineup all-electric by 2025 and ditch petrol about 10 years later. The company is the second-biggest car maker in the UK.


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