Have a Heart for an EV? Sure You Do. It's Safe to Drive an EV with a Pacemaker

By Jacob Brown | March 21, 2013
You're a cutting-edge guy or gal. You believe in weening yourself off oil and driving an electric car. Or at least you'd like to, but you don't think you can because your pacemaker will receive electromagnetic interference. And that wouldn't be good at all. Fret not, though, as the Mayo Clinic has cleared you for takeoff. The Clinic recently conducted a study in which it took implanted devices from three manufacturers and positioned them in the in a 2012 Toyota Prius--in the driver's position, front-passenger position, in all three rear-seat positions, and around back. In each position, the car was driven at 30 mph, 60 mph, and at variable speeds, with doctors measuring electromagnetic impulses. Thirty study patients were monitored, each with one of the three implanted devices, sitting in various positions. Dr. Luis Scott, a cardiologist, said there was no noticeable EMI effect created by the car at speed that would be dangerous for pacemaker wearers. "Further studies may be necessary to evaluate the interaction between implantable devices and other models of hybrid or electric cars," says Dr. Scott, in a statement. The 2012 Toyota Prius has plenty of electronics, but it is far from the most sophisticated--or plugged-in--electrically powered vehicle out there. The Tesla Model S, for instance, has nearly 20 times more battery capacity. Where the Prius might have a wireless Bluetooth signal for phone and audio pairing, the Model S has wireless signals running in and out of the car constantly to monitor performance and send wireless updates via a satellite-transmitted cloud. Still, heart devices were designed to stand up to the rigors of life. They're robust and go through everything from airport lines to x-rays every day. Years ago, it was proven that you'd be safe in an electric car if it were struck by lightning. We have no doubt the same applies for an implanted device. Source: Mayo Clinic