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Why Aren’t Electric Vehicles Silent?

EconetiQ Why Aren't Electric Vehicles Silent

Compared with vehicles that use an internal combustion engine, EVs are much quieter. That said, they are generally not as silent as they could be, due to the fact that they are often fitted with a device that causes them to produce a louder sound when operating. This is due to concerns that EVs moving too quietly might pose a danger to VRUs (vulnerable road users, such as children and non-motorised road users). In particular, the visually impaired who would be crossing and interacting with roads whilst relying on auditory cues to identify the presence of oncoming vehicles. 

The device causing EVs to produce a louder sound is called the AVAS (acoustic vehicle alerting system).The device generates artificial vehicle sounds, employing loudspeakers or actuators with the vibration of the vehicle’s structure, taking into account the vehicle’s speed. They will often also produce a different sound to indicate that the vehicle is moving in reverse.

The AVAS is such an important device when considering the road safety of VRUs that many authorities are ceasing to view it as an optional inclusion in the design of an EV or hybrid vehicle. Studies have shown that EVs and hybrid vehicles without an AVAS pose up to an 80% increased risk of incidents involving pedestrians. In accordance with its importance, as of 2014, the European Union agreed on a regulation that requires manufacturers to equip their electric and hybrid vehicles with an AVAS device. By July 2019, all new vehicles must have an AVAS and by July 2021, all electric and hybrid vehicles, irrespective of their type, must be equipped with an AVAS. Both the UK and Switzerland are also adopting this regulation in line with the EU.

EconetiQ is in full support of the implementation of AVAS devices. We are on a mission to build a dependable EV charging network in the UK, participating in the country’s growing EV market, and we believe in staying vigilant for any measures that can be taken to make this mission safer for everyone involved.

Author: Connor Clarke, Researcher for EconetiQ

Connor is a green-conscious content writer based in Bristol. As an advocate for clean energy solutions, Connor is dedicated to inspiring and educating people to involve themselves in the EV industry.


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