European Parliament mandates audible warnings for electric and hybrid vehicles
The proposal, originally put forward in December 2011, is the first alteration of vehicle noise limits since 1995, and also sets a 4dB cut in engine noise for conventionally powered passenger cars claimed to cut noise pollution by 25%. Vehicles will also soon have to have a noise level label at the dealership.
Following a five-year transitional period during which time manufacturers have the option to fit the technology, an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) will be mandatory all electric and hybrid vehicles, stipulating a minimum noise level while driving at less than 12mph (20kph) without an internal combustion engine.
The alert must not be an alarm-type sound, cannot be louder than a conventional drivetrain, should vary to indicate vehicle speed and can have a switch allowing them to be deactivated, provided the latter also shows a warning for the driver.
AVAS-type systems are already fitted to some electric vehicles, including the Renault ZOE which allows drivers to choose between three different sounds emitted below 18mph.