EU Requires EVs to Have Fake Engine Noise

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【Summary】The requirement is considered a safety feature for pedestrians.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 10, 2019 7:00 AM PT
EU Requires EVs to Have Fake Engine Noise

Electric vehicles are incredibly quiet, it's one of the major upsides to not having a combustion engine clanking along. While having a silent vehicle is a nice feature for drivers behind the wheel of an electric car, it can be dangerous for pedestrians. If you're not really paying attention, you could walk directly into an electric car's path. Obviously, that's dangerous. In an effort to boost pedestrian safety, the European Union is requiring electric vehicles to produce fake noise.

Keeping Pedestrians Safe

According to a report by BBC News, new electric vehicle will have to emit some kind of noise. The EU put the rule into effect on Monday amid concerns that low-emission cars and vans are too quiet for pedestrians to hear. The vehicles are apparently a risk because they cannot be heard as they approach, claims the outlet.

To remedy the situation, the EU will require that all new electric cars have an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS). The systems will also be required on hybrids. All existing models will have to have an AVAS by July 2021. At speeds of under 12 mph or when reversing, the AVAS will emit a sound. Those speeds, according to the EU, are when cars are most likely to be close to pedestrians and pose the greatest risk. Drivers will have the ability to disable the AVAS on cars.

Automakers will have the opportunity to choose what kind of noise their electric vehicles emit, but there's a catch. The EU's new legislation states that the sound electric cars make should be similar to a combustion engine. The sound also has to give nearby pedestrians an idea of what the car is doing. While that sounds confusing, it seems like the EU wants the fake sound to correlate to vehicle speed.

The Case For Making EVs Louder

It seems like the EU has a point for requiring brands to have an AVAS on electrified vehicles. The charity Guide Dogs wrote to British Parliament, outlining how electrified vehicles are 40 percent more likely to be involved in an accident that results in an injury to a pedestrian, states The Verge. While Guide Dogs is probably happy to hear about the new requirement, the BBC states that the charity wants EVs to emit a sound all the time.

Roads minister Michael Ellis stated, "This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road."

The EU isn't the only one requiring automakers to have electric cars that make a sound. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a requirement for electrified cars to emit a sound when traveling at speeds of under 19 mph last February. The mandate requires brands to incorporate the sound into their vehicles by September 2020 . Above that speed, the NHTSA believes that wind, tire, and road noise should be loud enough to where pedestrians should be able to hear the vehicle coming

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