All new models of electric cars sold in the European Union must now make artificial noise under certain conditions, reports BBC News . Warning systems for acoustic vehicles (aka AVAS) must be installed in the new models of hybrid and electric vehicles that will be presented as of today, and all existing models by July 2021. With an AVAS installed, the Vehicles should emit a sound while traveling below 12 mph, or while inverting.
Due to the absence of an internal combustion engine, electric vehicles can be much quieter than their gas counterparts. However, this lack of noise can mean that they represent a danger to other road users, especially for blind or visually impaired people. In a written submission to the British Parliament in 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 that causes injury to a pedestrian.
Different manufacturers may decide exactly how their AVAS will sound, but EU legislation says that the sound should be similar (and not stronger) than a traditional combustion engine. It should also give pedestrians an idea of what the vehicle is doing, for example, by synchronizing with the speed of a vehicle. Jaguar already revealed how its I-Pace will sound, and Nissan announced a conceptual vehicle in 2017 that "sings" while driving.
The EU is not the only regulator that is introducing false noise rules in electric vehicles. In the USA The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require that all hybrid and electric vehicles emit artificial noise by September 2020, although they will have to emit the sounds up to the slightly higher speed of 18.6 mph.