High-Pitched Motor Noise

Discussion in 'Hyundai Kona Electric' started by SeanH, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. KiwiME

    KiwiME Well-Known Member

    The iPhone is fine and you can use voice memo instead of video recording, but under Settings, Voice Memos, Audio Quality, set it to Lossless for optimum quality. Disabling the VESS is critical however. I'm pretty sure my Kona does not make any noticeable noises outside of the VESS, which I can switch off, yet I can hear switching noises in the sound file you provided.
    Brennan Raposo and electriceddy like this.
  2. MGrognon

    MGrognon New Member

    The 2 MP3 files are exactly what I'm hearing, yes. Constant hissing the minute the electric motor is in use (accelerate, regen, brake), sound is not present at all if coasting / on neutral with no regen.

    Again ; if this is considered "Normal" and ALL Konas have this (and some people simply don't hear this frequency/sound or are not bothered by it), I'll try to learn to live with it. If this can be avoided / dampened / muted altogether somehow, I will annoy the crap out of Hyundai to get this fixed as I'm highly sensitive to these types of "white noise" (I'm that annoying guy who's always saying "Can you hear that?" to people whenever there's an out of the ordinary/annoying noise of any sorts in every day life).

    I would actually not recommend the Kona to family / friends because of this specifically, which I know may sound trivial or ridiculous to some but that's how much it annoys me. Neighbour has a Model 3 and I can guarantee the Tesla is absolutely silent compared to the Kona at low speeds.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  3. Esprit1st

    Esprit1st Well-Known Member

    That sound is definitely not normal, and my car doesn't have it. I park my car in a garage so I'm sure I would hear it when I pull in or out with Windows open. I can't hear anything other than the VESS.

    I am very sensitive to these kind of noises as well. Actually right now there is some kind of AC or something, somewhere in here at work that makes a very high frequency noise and I feel like my head will explode soon. Nobody else seems to hear it.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  4. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    So now the question is, what are the chances we can talk someone into fixing/replacing the problem?
    Brennan Raposo and electriceddy like this.
  5. MGrognon

    MGrognon New Member

    Likely none, for me at least given that I tried another Kona with the dealership people and it made the same sound... "Ah, well it's normal / intended then." A 3rd one driving off the dealership when I was leaving also made the same sound so I was really hoping this was common to ALL of them so that I can try to forget about this ... But now? Urgh.
  6. KiwiME

    KiwiME Well-Known Member

    I suspect Hyundai's engineers would be interested in this, but how to get their attention? I would suggest first posting in FaceBook's Hyundai Kona Electric (EV) international group, which has 2,925 members, to see if there are any other affected owners. If those are worldwide perhaps petition Hyundai directly with all the names and VINs, otherwise the common regional importer. You also ask InsideEV's staff if they are interested in having a sound survey performed by a professional (at their cost) so that you have certifiable data.
    Brennan Raposo and electriceddy like this.
  7. KiwiME

    KiwiME Well-Known Member

    At this point I think there's little doubt as to the source of the high frequency noise. I would also suggest that the more-pleasant whining noise on acceleration is what's generally referred to as 'cogging' in a motor, a result of the finite angle between windings and between poles in the permanent magnet rotor. The PWM noise not being fixable on current vehicles is probably true, but noises can always be further mitigated in future designs if they affect customer satisfaction.
    Jared Potter likes this.
  8. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread, simplest temporary way to disable VESS is to just open the fuse/relay panel inside the cabin and pull fuse marked "MODULE 4". Diagram inside owner manual - it's the second from top-left fuse. It will also disable these other non-essential functions that share the same fuse:

    Blind-Spot Collision Warning Unit LH/RH, BCM, Crash Pad Switch, Vess Unit (Speaker), Multifunction Front View Camera.

    Just put the fuse back after recording the sound or demonstrating the noise to the dealer.

    For what it's worth, I don't hear this particular noise in my Niro EV that shares this same drivetrain (minus a different battery manufacturer). I'm over 40 so possibly out of my hearing range but I do hear it clearly in your recording. I do hear some high frequency coil whine that varies in frequency when I hit very specific rpms around 40 mph. It doesn't sound like your recording. At very low speeds (~10 mph), I only hear exactly what I posted in my tapping/knocking noise recording.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  9. TheLight75

    TheLight75 Active Member

    It sounds to me like something is rubbing and needs to be lubricated
  10. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    This has been considered. However, the fact that it only happens when the motor inverter is active leads to think it is not rubbing, but electrical.
  11. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    Thanks for the pointer. I will try to do this next week.
  12. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    While you're at it, might also be worth recording what it sounds like with and without regen (level 0). If possible, toggling from D to N while it's emitting the noise may also diagnose if the noise is coming from motor or reduction gear. Good luck and I hope some remedy is eventually offered for those afflicted with this issue.
  13. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    Hiss Audio Recording https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MgL9mjiBM--6_1DiSl2xPg_Ci5hAERqt/view?usp=sharing
    So I removed Module 4 Fuse to disable the VESS. Then we disabled the hood alarm and the seatbelt alarm.
    This recording was taken right on top of the main motor/inverter assembly, which is for sure where the noise is coming from. Anyone who says it is brakes/wheels/etc, is definitely wrong.
    I can hear 3 noises. There is a "clunk" that I think is something in the differential as it starts to turn. There is a lower pitched noise that changes frequency with speed -- I think this is the gearbox. And then there is a high pitched hiss that changes amplitude with speed (which I wasn't sure about before) -- this is the noise in question and it sounds like electronic switching noise.

    If all the cars are doing this, it seems like a poor design decision.
    If not all of the cars are doing this, then this seems like a defect in some of the inverters that could be fixed (but I'm not sure how to convince anyone of that).
    robxb, KiwiME, wizziwig and 1 other person like this.
  14. apu

    apu Well-Known Member

    Sorry sounds like a variation of normal electric motor harmonics to me.

  15. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    So, what I hear in that video is a sound that changes pitch with speed. This is what I would expect. What I hear in the Kona is a high pitched hiss that only changes amplitude with speed.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  16. KiwiME

    KiwiME Well-Known Member

    Here's the spectrum of a small clip of that. Just a whole lot of high frequency noise. Yes, the motor controller is the second box down, the first is the onboard charger.

  17. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Exactly this!
    The first two month of ownership I couldn’t stop talking positively enough about this car.
    I honestly miss my Santa Fe lately, it was more quiet than my Kona currently is.

    I have loud clicking and clunking sounds every time I turn the wheel in either direction and this incessant high-pitched noise that I have confirmed isn’t in my head. Everyone I ask about it can hear it clear as day.

    We currently have 10 completely different EV/hybrid models at my work. Kona, volt, bolt, GLCe PHEV, fusion PHEV, focus EV, Nero EV, model 3, model S and a PHEV Cadillac. Absolutely every single one of those but my Kona is perfectly silent (aside from any manufacturer VESS if they have one).

    When I get into my Kona, and pull away it sounds like a child pulling a really rusty and clunky wagon around. It’s embarrassing.

    Thankfully, I have an appointment this Saturday at my dealership. I will give them the car for as long as they want but I will refuse to take it back until it’s silent. The sound is driving me bonkers.

    Will keep everyone posted, of course!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    BC-Doc and Kamloops_KoNa like this.
  18. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    This is not at all the sound. Not even slightly close. This sounds like the “normal” electric motor noise. As someone mentioned, it also changes in pitch. The noise I hear is one steady squeak. Sounds like a rusty bearing or a car with brake pads that are in desperate need of replacing. It doesn’t change pitch at all.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    robxb likes this.
  19. CJC

    CJC Well-Known Member

    Oh dear what a disappointment Brennan. I didn't have the high pitched noise, but we sure had that rusty, clunky old bucket of bolts happening. I took it in twice and I think even on the second visit they treated me like I was a hysterical woman. I told them it was embarrassing to drive a car that cost over $55,000 and have those sounds. The new clips on the brake pads they ordered from South Korea fixed my problems. They put the new pads on first without the new clips and said the clunking was still there. So they put the clips on as well and that fixed the clunking. They left the new pads on since they were already installed, but said that a recall was likely which would replace clips only. I had been so upset with my Kona clunking that I lost interest in owning the car as I drove it very little due to the annoyance. Now all is silent which is so much better. Good luck. Hold your ground.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.

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