Europe mandates sound generators for EVs

The artificial noise will be played by hybrid and EV models at low speeds to help the vision impaired.
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From today, all new electrified car models launched in the European Union will need to be fitted with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS).

According to the union's regulations, the system must make noise similar to an internal combustion engine at speeds below 19km/h in both forward and reverse.

AVAS must be fitted to all four-wheel vehicles capable of moving without an internal-combustion engine running, meaning basically all hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

This additional noise should make it easier for the blind and those with severely impaired vision to more safely and easily navigate streets. At low speeds, cars running on electric power alone make almost no noise.

A submission to the UK parliament in 2017 by the Guide Dogs association claims electrified vehicles are 40 per cent more likely to be involved in an accident involving a pedestrian.

Starting from July 2021, all new electric cars, not just new models, sold in the EU will need to be fitted with AVAS.

The US is also heading down a similar path, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requiring a hybrid and electric cars to be fitted with an AVAS-style system from September 2020. In the US, the system must operate at speeds up to 30km/h.