New rules coming into force today dictate that EVs with at least four wheels must make a noise under 12mph
Felix Page Autocar writer
1 July 2019

New rules coming into force today (1 July) dictate that all new fully electric vehicles must be fitted with an audible warning device to aid safety.

In response to concerns that EVs pose a risk to pedestrians at low speed, the new ‘Regulation on the Sound Level of Motor Vehicles’ calls for silent vehicles to emit a sound when travelling at speeds under 12mph, or reversing. 

An acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) will generate a noise similar to that made by conventional combustion engines, and can be deactivated when judged necessary by the driver. 

The devices will be fitted to all new EVs with at least four wheels sold in the UK henceforth, and hybrid vehicles from July 2021 onwards. 

Roads minister Michael Ellis said: “The government wants the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone, and understands the concerns of the visually impaired about the possible hazards posed by quiet electric vehicles.

“This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road.”

A number of manufacturers, including Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota, already have some sort of AVAS fitted to their electric vehicles. Jaguar has equipped the I-Pace electric SUV with a system specifically tuned for the visually impaired, developed in conjunction with UK charity Guide Dogs for the Blind. 

The new law comes as part of a government drive to facilitate the mass roll-out of zero-emissions vehicles. 

The sale of new combustion-engined vehicles is set to be banned in the UK from 2040 onwards, although government advisors recently called for this to be brought forward to 2030

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Comments
9

1 July 2019

Threshold is way to low s/b < 25mph at least! What clown came decided on this speed?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

1 July 2019
Tyre noise is loud enough after ~19mph, would be no point making a noise at any higher than that

1 July 2019

Depends on the tyre and weight of the vehicle etc. Twizy won't make no where near the tyre noise of a Model X but bith will hurt if they hit you at 20mph

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

1 July 2019

I drive an electric van at work, and despite my best efforts of creeping up on people at walking speeds, they always hear me and move out of the way.

1 July 2019

And I think the authorities should be more worried about these tacky, synthetic sounding, over-loud 'sports' exhausts that so many (particularly German) vehicles irritate you with these days.

1 July 2019

I doubt very much that it will be an MOT test requirement and one would hope most manufacturers make it easy to disable the device.

This is like a watered down red flag act.

1 July 2019

I welcome the news. On more than one occasion I've been caught out at the cash machine in the Bank's carpark. I collect my money, turn round to walk away and a car seems to have appeared from nowhere. When electric cars are moving at walking pace i.e. in car parks, you can't hear them.

Listened to this on 5 live this morning - someone called in saying they've had electric milkfloats for 50 years and lack of noise hasn't been a problem before.  Lack of noise! milkfloat? Jeez.  The milkman used to wake me up in the mornings as he delivered milk in his van. It's not just electric engines were louder back then, 5000 glass bottles rattling together was hardly stealth-like.  

1 July 2019

first of all, go outside when it's late/early enough so that you can actually hear a car coming towards you, passing, and going in to the distance, without a lot of other noises drowning it out. Engine noise is only notably relevant when it's going away from you, at which point the vehicle is unlikely to be a safety concern. Secondly, what's this going to be like at traffic lights? absolute silence, then all these electric cars start revving up... is that supposed to be funny? Or are they all going to be noisily stationary, then go silent once they could actually hit someone?  At that point the motors start to whine anyway. Thirdly, watch where you're walking! If you're at a cashpoint and almost walk in to a car, you could also be walking in to people and/or standing on children. Fourthly, and lastly, given that people can and do step and drive out in to the path of a clearly visible wagon, which are notably larger and louder than most cars, is this with the electric cars really going to make any form of quantifiable difference to anything? Engine powered cars have always had a problem with people suddenly standing in front of them when they're moving, so actual engine noise can't be the solution to the problem. Will you be able to choose your "conventional combustion engine"? 

2 July 2019
russ13b wrote:

first of all, go outside when it's late/early enough so that you can actually hear a car coming towards you, passing, and going in to the distance, without a lot of other noises drowning it out. Engine noise is only notably relevant when it's going away from you, at which point the vehicle is unlikely to be a safety concern. Secondly, what's this going to be like at traffic lights? absolute silence, then all these electric cars start revving up... is that supposed to be funny? Or are they all going to be noisily stationary, then go silent once they could actually hit someone?  At that point the motors start to whine anyway. Thirdly, watch where you're walking! If you're at a cashpoint and almost walk in to a car, you could also be walking in to people and/or standing on children. Fourthly, and lastly, given that people can and do step and drive out in to the path of a clearly visible wagon, which are notably larger and louder than most cars, is this with the electric cars really going to make any form of quantifiable difference to anything? Engine powered cars have always had a problem with people suddenly standing in front of them when they're moving, so actual engine noise can't be the solution to the problem. Will you be able to choose your "conventional combustion engine"? 

you're really right, I totally agree with you.

Kind Regards, Parrucchieri Pavia

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