New EU laws require EV’s to make noise

From the beginning of July manufacturers of electric vehicles are required to install noise emitting devices to all new electric and hybrid vehicles. The new sound makers are known as audible vehicle alert systems (AVAS) and are required to operate when the vehicle is travelling at speed up to 12mph or when reversing. The systems should sound somewhat similar to a traditional engine and must convey acceleration and deceleration by changes to the pitch. The sound must be between 56db but not exceed 75db, for reference 60db is similar to an indoor conversation.
The Jaguar iPace is already fitted with a rather lovely and quite Sci-Fi warble that operated in speeds up to 12mph. Other manufactures will now be forced to follow suit. We are excited to hear Tesla’s offering, surely something natty and fun Elon? Although the word on the street is that it will be a synthesized V8 engine noise.
There is potential that older vehicles will need to be retrofitted with noise makers as the law states that all EV’s will need to be equipped with one by 2021. We’ll keep you updated on this.
For die hard EV converts the new legislation might be a bitter pill to swallow, some purists feel that the quietness of EV’s is not only part of their charm but also their pollution busting prowess. Noise pollution can be a big problem, especially in built up areas and many like that not only are they addressing air pollution but noise pollution too. It also adds to the experience and futuristic feel of having and electric vehicle and feeling like an early adopter.
Safety is of course the primary driving force for the legislation, Pedestrians are 40 per cent more likely to be hit by a hybrid or electric car than by one with a petrol or diesel engine in the UK (Guide Dogs, 2015). Richard Holmes from RNIB says that it is essential that silent vehicles make a noise.
Roads minister Michael Ellis said: “The Government wants the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone, and understands the concerns of the visually impaired about the possible hazards posed by quiet electric vehicles.
From a practical point of view we are with the legislators on this, having owned a Tesla for a few years we can see the pitfalls of driving a silent car. After a few near misses with pedestrians at side roads and don’t even mention children at pick up at our children’s school. We always exercise a drive with caution approach but a warning noise would definitely help, a beep on the horn always feels a bit passive aggressive at the school gates too!
We were hoping for an ice cream van tune or a perhaps “Gonna fly now” (the Rocky theme tune) as our EV noise but it looks like a synthesized engine noise will have to do. On the whole we think it’s a good idea, road safety must be primary, even if noise pollution suffers a little as a result.