Many owners of electric cars take pleasure in how quiet their vehicles are. Having dispensed with the infamously noisy combustion engine, their driving becomes much more peaceful. But regulators have safety concerns…
Peaceful Or Eerie?
Driving an electric car is different to driving a vehicle that uses petrol or diesel. Not just in terms of the self-satisfaction you get for potentially saving the planet, either. One of the first things motorists notice is just how quiet they are. For some, the lack of both noise and the roar of the engine is something to be welcomed; it can make the driving experience much more peaceful and relaxing. For others, however, it’s practically eerie. We’re so accustomed to the sounds of ‘ICE’ models that, when they suddenly disappear, it can be disorienting. Now, however, regulators are raising safety concerns…
Regulators: ‘Make Electric Cars Noisier…’
You might have heard about the controversy surrounding noise pollution. A major source of this originates from motor vehicles, especially from problem drivers who take to the roads late at night. In fact, some local authorities have now begun to clamp down on the phenomenon; such as in Bradford. The government is also experimenting with new ‘noise speed cameras’ to monitor motorists who are too noisy with their cars. Electric cars, however, have the opposite problem; regulators believe they’re so quiet as to pose a safety risk. The concern is that pedestrians and other road-users won’t be able to hear their approach; meaning they may fail to spot them when crossing a road, for instance.
New rules will ensure that EVs, PHEVs and hybrids are fitted with ‘Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems’ (AVAS). They’ll active and emit warning sounds when they’re driven at speeds of 12 mph or below, alerting people to their presence. Whilst it’ll be up to manufacturers to determine the sounds themselves, they’ll have to meet certain frequency ranges. The sounds will also have to “be easily indicative of vehicle behaviour” and “sound similar to the sound of a vehicle of the same category equipped with an internal combustion engine.” Drivers will still be able to turn off the feature “if judged necessary”. The new regulations came into effect on July 1st and will apply to new vehicles registered from July 2021.
But Was It Necessary?
For the automotive industry, the new regulations will no doubt be frustrating. The lack of noise produced by EVs is a distinct selling point, a seeming advantage over their diesel and petrol equivalents. In addition, fitting AVAS will prove time-consuming and require greater investment in vehicles that are still far from conventionally profitable. Nevertheless, the lack of noise can clearly pose a risk to other road-users; especially in urban and built-up environments. Despite Brexit, the UK government still seems comfortable with embracing EU regulators and legislation; at least as far as the automotive industry is concerned.
All The Ways The EU Is Trying To Improve Driving Safety – http://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/eu-driving-safety/
Car Engines Cost THOUSANDS To Repair And Replace: Here’s How To Look Afters Yours – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/car-engines-maintenance/