EU Asks EVs and Hybrids to Speak Up

Silent engines are apparently lethal for pedestrians and cyclists.

Last week, new legislation was passed by the European Parliament,ruling that all hybrid and electric makers must add artificial engine noise totheir models in order to protect pedestrians and cyclists. Apparently, thesevehicles are 66 percent more likely to hit cyclists and 37 percent more likelyto run over pedestrians as compared to fuel-powered cars, when cruising atspeeds below 35mph. Thus, all EU-spec cars will add acoustic vehicle alteringsystems (AVAS) to make some electrifying noise.

This ruling followed a long debate, one which has also beenheard in the US but has yet to lead to any final legislation on our shores.Forthe moment, it seems the AVAS systems will produce artificial engine noise,after options like chirping sounds or tire swooshing tunes were ruled out. Thelegislation met with criticism from electric and hybrid vehicle makers, whoclaim the systems will annoy their tree-hugging drivers. But if these systemscan be custom-ordered, we’ll take our Tesla with a V-8 roar, thank you.

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