EU Mandate for Sounds in Electric Vehicles goes into Effect

EU Mandate for Sounds in Electric Vehicles goes into Effect

Electric and hybrid vehicles won’t sound like golf carts for much longer – an EU mandate for low-speed EV noises went into effect Monday, with the U.S. to follow next year.

Under certain speeds – the U.S. and EU set different benchmarks – the lack of an internal combustion engine makes EVs whisper-silent (and a threat to pedestrians with visual handicaps). The EU, therefore, passed a law requiring that EVs have the ability to emit sounds under 12 mph.

According to CNET, the sound “usually comes from a small pair of speakers located behind the body at the front and rear of the vehicle,” and while the specific type of sound is unspecified, it must be within a certain frequency range and change pitch depending on acceleration and deceleration.

The U.S. law is similar but expands the noise requirement to 18.6 miles per hour. For both pieces of legislation, it’s assumed that tire noise, wind resistance, and other factors will provide enough of an audio ruckus at higher speeds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims the U.S. law will cost the auto industry $40 million annually to implement but will save $250 million to $320 million in injuries.

U.S. automakers must have the sounds in 50% of vehicles by this September and 100% of eligible EVs and hybrids a year later.

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