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Artificial Noise for Electric Vehicles

Artificial Noise for Electric Vehicles
« on: 20 August , 2019, 14:56:46 pm »
Hello partners,

Although these news are not precisely new, I wanted to share them with you because of their relevance and also because they were the top story in news channels in my home country, Spain.

“Fake noise will be added to new electric cars starting today in the EU”

On July 1st 2019, the European Union passed a law which requires new electric cars to emit a noise while they are being driven at a low speed. This law forces automobile manufacturers to install in their four-wheeled electric vehicles a device called Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS), which will produce a noise similar to a beep when the car moves at 19 kilometers per hour or if it is going in reverse.

The purpose of this step is to provide pedestrians with an extra safety feature. As electric vehicles do not produce any engine noise while they move, many people do not hear them while they cross the streets and consequently, there have been many accidents in which pedestrians have been run over.

Another good reason why this rule has been approved is that it would make crossing the street much easier for people with sight disabilities, because in an all- electric tomorrow, with all vehicles making no noise, it would be a pretty tough scenario for people who suffer these kind of problems.

The European Union is not the only institution which has approved this kind of legislation. In the United States, automakers have until September 2020 to provide their users with an equivalent noise-making system that is expected to work as the European device.

In my strictly personal opinion, I do not fully support this rule because I think that one of the greatest perks of electric vehicles is their ability not to produce any engine noise. And if now all electrics must produce an artificial sound, in my opinion, they would lose a part of their charm. Nevertheless, I also think about people with sight issues, who might need this kind of help to provide them a safe environment. Therefore, although I personally do not like this noise because I do not need it, I think that it will be a great aid for other people who do need it.

I leave you a link to the article of The Verge, one of the best websites for science and technology. You will also be able to find other news there regarding electric mobility.


I hope it was interesting for everybody.

Kind regards,
Pablo García

Re: Artificial Noise for Electric Vehicles
« Reply #1 on: 08 September , 2019, 13:43:23 pm »
Hi Pablo,

I just commented something similar about this new in the Electric Mobility section, referring to the topic of the safety of electric cars. Actually, the law is a bit older (as far as I know, it was passed in 2014), but most laws do not become compulsory until some years after passed, so business and citizens have time to adapt to them. And just as you pointed, this new measure has not been precisely free of controversy, due to the fact that the opportunity to reduce the noise pollution caused by traffic is destroyed because of this new law. In Economy, this is called "opportunity cost": everytime we choose an option, we have to dispense with the benefits all discarded options could give us.

I have just been wondering why it cannot be possible for electric cars just to use their horns when they are near to a pedestrian, so as bicycles do. However, it is true that cars are bigger and faster, and they cannot play the horn fast enough every time someone crosses the street without looking. Anyway, although I agree that noise pollution is a problem, car accidents are more relevant in my opinion, so any decision that is taken should respect the priority of car safety over noise.

What do you think? Is maybe noise pollution more dangerous to human health than direct accidents?

José Javier (Veteran)