One of the lesser talked about advantages of driving an electric car is their low driving noise thanks to their lack of an internal combustion engine. However, it seems that electric cars are too quiet, and an EU law put into place will look to rectify this issue.
While many of us see the quiet ride of electric cars as a benefit in cutting down noise pollution, the low noise can be seen as a danger for pedestrians, cyclists, and visually-impaired people who might not notice that there is a car on the road.
As such, a new EU rule came into force on Monday that will require new electric vehicles to be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS). According to the ruling, the AVAS will be engaged when reversing or traveling below 12 mph (19 km/h). The EU argues that these low speeds are typically done in populated city centers where a driver has the most chances of encountering pedestrians. The charity Guide Dogs had welcomed the new ruling, but stated that electric cars should be making sounds at all speeds.
By 2021, all electric vehicles, not just new models of electric vehicles, will have to be equipped with an AVAS. An interesting note, according to the BBC, the noise-emitting devices would give off a sound that is similar to a “traditional engine”. It’s an interesting choice to say the least as the “traditional engine” is not a pleasing sound for many and contributes to increasing sound pollution. Sound pollution, by the way, is the second most harmful environmental stressor in Europe behind air pollution according to the European Federation for Transport and Environment.
Perhaps the sound won’t be as loud as a traditional car, so there will still be some decrease in the overall noise in city streets. Some have toyed around with the idea of having custom sounds emitting from the noise maker but that has a very slim chance of happening. We will have to wait and see for what current implementations sound like before giving a full opinion.
Here is an example of the AWAS in the new Jaguar I-PACE:
As for the United States, automakers have until September 2020 to install noise makers into their new EVs. However, the noise will continue to emit until the vehicle reaches 18.6 mph rather than the 12 mph in the EU. We have seen automakers start to prepare for the change as seen by a possible speaker grill found on the underside of a Tesla Model 3.
What do you guys think of the ruling? Let us know down in the comments below.