How Electric Vehicles can be ‘Silent Killers’

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We know that BEV/ Battery in electric vehicles are very silent because there is no conventional engine in them. Same is the case with Plug-in hybrid vehicles [in EV mode ] and fuel cell vehicles. These vehicles have no apparent noise while on the road, especially when operated on low speed.

Normally when you are walking as a pedestrian on streets and typically in urban areas, you can hear the sound of approaching car which helps to decide if it is wise to cross a road or not. Car engine sound also indicates its presence.
However, there is no sound in case of EVs, and apparently, it is a problem for pedestrians, cyclists, or those who are visually impaired, and it can lead to an accident; hence electric vehicles can be ‘silent killers’.

How EU/US is Tackling it? 

Road safety regulators in Europe and the US are working on introducing regulation in this regard and installing mandatory “Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS)”or known as “PWS/ Pedestrian Warning System” in vehicles.
As per law, the EVs and any other plug-in hybrid or fuel cell vehicles MUST emit a distinct sound and must be audible in the surrounding areas. As per law, the EV must be generating the sound until the car reaches 20 km/h in the EU while in the US, the sound should remain active till 30Km/h.

The required sound of certain frequencies should be a minimum of 56 decibels and must be audible within 2 meters distance . Meanwhile the maximum allowed sound level is 75 decibels. Although the vehicle must be emitting sound as soon as it starts forward motion, in case of reverse the car should start the sound as soon as the car shifts in reverse even if it’s not in motion.

Special Speaker System in Electric Vehicles: 

Furthermore, car companies have to install special speaker systems on the exterior of the cars, and the AVAS are programmed with the car’s main computer module to start or cut off the required level of sound. The sound pitch is also increased or decreased to give an impression of the speed of the vehicle. Car companies have developed their own distinct sound for their cars, and EV sound is also becoming a branding.

The AVAS law was implemented in July 2019 in the UK while July 2021 is the deadline for US when every EV/ FCV/ Plugin Hybrid must end to the SILENCE. If you are interested in reading the full mandate you can click on the following links to learn more.

EU law > UNECE R138
US law > NHTSA 49 CFR Part 571 and 585

We are sharing the video of Mercedes EQC Crossover, a EV with the system for US/ Europe. The sound you hear is artificial.

For more views, news and reviews, keep visiting PakWheels Blog. 

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