Existing and new models of electric cars sold in the European Union will be required to make artificial noise under new regulations.
New models of hybrid and electric cars will have to be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS) from today onward, while all pre-existing models will have to be equipped with the system by July 2021.
With an AVAS installed, vehicles make a sound while traveling under 12 mph, or reversing.
Although different manufacturers of these cars will be able to decide exactly what their AVAS will sound like, the EU’s legislation states that the sound should be similar to (but not louder than) a traditional combustion engine.
It should also be able to give pedestrians an idea of what the vehicle is doing, for example, during reversing of a change in speed. Car manufacturers like Jaguar and Nissan have already revealed their own concepts.
Electric vehicles tend be a lot quieter than fuel-powered cars Due to the absence of an internal combustion engine.
However, the lack of noise may pose a danger to other road users, especially pedestrians who are blind, partially sighted or have difficulty hearing.
In a written submission to the British Parliament from November 2017, the charity Guide Dogs pointed to research that says electric and hybrid vehicles are 40 percent more likely to be involved in an accident which causes injury to a pedestrian.
In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires that all hybrid and electric vehicles emit artificial noise by September 2020, although they’ll have to emit the sounds up to the slightly faster speed of 18.6 mph.