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

Photo: Sean O’Kane / The Verge

All new models of electric cars sold in the European Union must now make artificial noise under certain conditions, reports BBC News. Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (aka, AVAS) will need to be installed in new models of hybrid and electric cars introduced from today onward, and all existing models by July 2021. With an AVAS installed, vehicles will need to make a sound while traveling under 12 mph, or while reversing.

Due to the absence of an internal combustion engine, electric vehicles can be a lot quieter than their gas-powered counterparts. However, this lack of noise can mean that they pose a danger to other road users, especially people who are blind or partially sighted. In a written submission to the British Parliament from November 2017, the charity Guide Dogs pointed to research that says electric and hybrid vehicles are 40 percent more likely to be involved in an accident which causes injury to a pedestrian.

Different manufacturers will be able to decide exactly what their AVAS will sound like, but the EU’s legislation says that the sound should be similar to (and not louder than) a traditional combustion engine. It should also give pedestrians an idea of what the vehicle is doing by, for example, synchronizing with a vehicle’s speed. Jaguar has already revealed what its I-Pace will sound like, and Nissan announced a concept vehicle back in 2017 that “sings” as it drives.

The EU isn’t the only regulator that’s introducing fake noise rules around electric vehicles. In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require that all hybrid and electric vehicles emit artificial noise by September 2020, although they’ll have to emit the sounds up to the slightly faster speed of 18.6 mph.


Great idea. Vision impaired people, like me, will be able to hear when a car is coming.

Bikes, both electric and manual, are scary for this very reason. I have almost been hit more times than I can count. I was run over by a bike once, I do not want to do that again.

They should do this with bikes and scooters too.

Especially the electric scooters, they are everywhere now and people are using them on sidewalks at full speed.

Bad behaviour isn’t the scooter’s fault, it’s the user’s.
I can’t find a reasonable argument why (electric) bikes would be fine, and scooters wouldn’t. After all, it’s pretty much the same thing with a slightly different form factor.

Like bikes, they clearly respond to a need (especially in cities), and as such they take far less space than other methods of transport (less than bus, tram, train, car, taxi or motorcycle). And as always, that’s good news : every m² not used for infrastructure can be used for better things.

The only problem is that some scooter drivers have the strange habit not to use the bicycle infrastructure specifically built for <25 km/h traffic, but to use pedestrian infrastructure instead. No idea why, and yes, this pisses me off as well, but I’m pretty sure that’ll be a temporary phenomenon.

I can’t find a reasonable argument why (electric) bikes would be fine, and scooters wouldn’t.

I literally never made this argument. People use bikes on the street where I live, but use scooters on the sidewalk. Which means them making a noise would be useful. There is barely any biking lanes, so I do not blame the users for that. It’s just not safe if I have no idea an electric scooter is coming right at me. I’d like a warning.

Hmm. If you’d have the choice between the street and the sidewalk, the street would still seem like the logical place to drive a scooter to me – 25km/h is far too fast for a sidewalk.

Anyway, I’d adding bicycle lanes would be a better solution than making your slow traffic noisy

We may be talking about different things. In America they operate 10-20 kmh generally 100kg (with human) weight. Cars operate at 70kmh, in residential areas, 3000kg weight.. Humans operate at 5-15 kmh, 80kg weight. One of these is not like the other.

Why do i get the feeling you are one of these weird "guns don’t kill people" people…

They already make a noise. I also use a bell.

What about super loud cars? They can drown out the sound of quieter slower moving cars, which would still put you in danger. Maybe they should limit how loud a car can be as well.

Yes, this is why we have mufflers and why you can’t drive around with a broken one.

But ricer kids can apparently drive around with intentionally loud "macho mufflers."

In France when I was little we used to do that and the police would catch us and drill a hole in the cylinder so that we can’t use the non homologated bike again.

I’ll do you one better: motorcycles. They sound like shit and are sooooo loud.

Why not humans too? Something that plays a noise every time someone jogging is traveling faster than 7 mph.

I have been run over before by a bike too, but I would take that remote chance over virtually every bike around me annoying me for the rest of my life. Not to mention the incredible expense! Would cost tens of billions on a global scale. I would much rather spend money on cars having collision avoidance than a noisy speaker.

It works great with the Renault Zoé.

And from a marketing standpoint it’s also great for car brands. The Renault noise is so distinctive that I can recognize one without even looking, which cannot be said for any ICE car.

I can just see it now. This Cheverolt Volt is reversing, pick up a great deal at your local dealer NOW!

Would love it if you could change the noise… Like to a giant chicken or something

"you can tell it’s not in the U.S because no one got shot"

Or sued.

It would be a HUGE failure of the car companies if you didn’t get a selection of at least 10 sounds you could use. It would cost them absolutely nothing to add that feature.

It would be a huge failure to capitalize on it too. Much like ring tones for phones they could make a bundle on engine tones for your car.

Ecology means sound noise reduction too, so I am disagree with fake noise.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑