Electric cars are not only cleaner for the environment but they are also significantly quieter than your average fuel guzzling vehicle. However, there are concerns that such vehicles can be dangerous for pedestrians because they are just too quiet.
With more electric cars are hitting the roads, the EU wants to make it safer for pedestrians especially the visually impaired by requiring new EV cars to emit artificial sound.
The Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS) must be included on all new models of hybrid and electric cars starting from 1st July 2019. For existing models, they must include the feature by July 2021.
With AVAS installed, the vehicle will emit an audible noise while travelling below 12 mph or 19 km/h. This allows other pedestrians to be aware of the vehicle when it is driving through busy city streets or while reversing. While the AVAS implementation is a good move, there are others that want these vehicles to emit sound at all speeds.
Ideally, the vehicle must sound like a car with an internal combustion engine, but each car manufacturer is allowed to determine their own sound for the AVAS. Nissan had showcased a concept vehicle that emits a sound that’s similar to a THX intro while Jaguar’s I-Pace’s AVAS sounds like a spacecraft.
In the US, a similar requirement for hybrid and EV vehicles was also introduced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and it will take effect by September 2020. However, they require the sound to be emitted at a higher speed of up to 18.6 mph (about 30 km/h).