In modern automotive vehicles, gear noise becomes more and more of an issue. The main reason is the reduced masking noise of the engine, which vanishes completely in the case of an electric driveline. Improved gear quality unfortunately does not correlate with a better noise performance in any case. High gear quality makes sure that the gear flanks are inside tight tolerances and that all teeth are nearly identical. Even if the running behavior of such gear sets shows a very low sound pressure level, the noise perception for human ears may be annoying.
When it comes to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), I’m reminded of that dog-van scene from Dumb and Dumber where Jim Carrey says, “Want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?” and then proceeds to emit an astonishingly awful noise. Annoying as NVH may be, it’s a key metric in drive-system development for e-mobility, and the careful design and manufacture of gears are crucial to minimizing NVH as tolerance variations can result in large differences between nominally identical components.