A new survey has revealed that British road users want electric cars to sound like cars to ensure safety for pedestrians and other road users.
The survey, conducted by Venson Automotive Solutions, found that 43 percent of drivers would prefer a noise that mimics the sound of a conventional petrol or diesel engine on an electric vehicle, particularly when driven at low speed, while 23 percent would prefer a continuous low decibel sound.
The findings come as manufacturers work to meet new legal requirements for all new hybrid and EVs to incorporate an acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) – From July 1, 2019, all new electric cars sold in the EU have to be fitted with AVAS and all existing models by July 2021.
70 percent of those polled also preferred a horn sound similar to that made by a conventional petrol or diesel engine, along with 72 percent admitting they felt that all electric vehicle sounds should be standardised.
Under EU law, from 2021, EV drivers will be able to manually trigger a warning sound, as in a horn but less urgent, to alert pedestrians and road users of their presence. 70 percent surveyed said they would like to hear a horn sound similar to that made by a petrol or diesel engine vehicle.
Just 13 percent wanted to hear a phrase such as ‘EV approaching’, however, 6 percent would prefer an animal sound like a roar, bark or quack instead of a traditional vehicle horn.
Alison Bell, Marketing Director for Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “The integration of AVAS into hybrid and electric vehicles is a very positive move. Almost silent electric and hybrid cars put vulnerable road users at risk, especially children, the partially sighted and blind. As more fleet drivers opt for emission-free electric models, with the introduction of zero BIK tax from April 2020, they will be relieved to know that with the introduction of AVAS their choice will no longer put road users at risk.
“With over 100 years of petrol and diesel engine sounding vehicles on our roads, people naturally react to the sound of an approaching vehicle or a horn being sounded. Keeping sounds we are used to hearing on UK roads makes the most sense when it comes to road safety and saving lives.”