As EU AVAS deadline approaches, automakers experiment with sound

From July 2021 onwards, all new electric vehicles in the EU must be fitted with sound generators. But automakers are also focusing on interior EV sound. By Xavier Boucherat

As any first-time electric vehicle (EV) driver will attest, one of the biggest departures from an ICE equivalent is the noise, or lack thereof. Those with decent hearing may pick up the high-pitched whine produced by the vehicle’s electronics, but at speeds below 20kph on well-maintained roads, the vehicles are otherwise silent.

It is not until an EV reaches higher speeds that the sound of tyres on the road becomes widely audible. Naturally, this has created safety concerns in recent years, with most pedestrian ears attuned to the sound of approaching motors for warnings when moving through built-up urban areas. To that end, many markets have moved to regulate mandatory warning noises. Without them, the industry puts other road users at risk, and potentially robs visually impaired people of their independence.

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