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Brits want electric cars to sound like… cars

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

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.”

‘Range & charge point anxiety’ a prevailing urban myth among fleet drivers

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

While many company car drivers are genuinely interested in the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, the UK’s charging structure still creates concern for 69 per cent of those motorists polled.

The findings, from a survey by Venson Automotive Solutions, come as Nissan reports there are now more EV charging stations (9,199) in the UK than conventional fuel stations (8,396) and the Department for Transport reports that at present, the UK has a network of more than 24,000 public charging connectors in nearly 9,000 locations. 

In addition to highlighting a wide misconception that there is a lack of EV charging points across the UK, the Venson survey also reports preconceptions regarding limited battery range which came a close second; 57 per cent of those surveyed reported this was still a barrier when considering an EV.  

However, according to Go Ultra Low, the range of 100% electric cars is rapidly improving. Huge advances in battery technology and falling costs mean this will continue to grow.  Today, virtually all Go Ultra Low pure electric cars can drive over 100 miles with ease on a single charge; some of the latest models are closer to 200 miles or more.  

Alison Bell, Marketing Director at Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “With charging and battery range concerns abated, EV fleets should now be far more appealing to businesses.  The revised BiK charges which sees zero-emission electric vehicle tax liability for company car drivers fall from 2 per cent to 0 per cent for the tax year 2020-21, will also appeal to company car drivers which should boost demand for EVs in the next 12 months.”

Further good news is that 86 per cent of motorists surveyed said that a ‘lack of clarity in terms of ownership implications as a company car driver’ is a thing of the past, and more than two thirds of drivers said that they had a good understanding of the costs and convenience of owning an EV.  

Dealerships are also making it easier for fleet managers to promote a charge towards electric – only 13 per cent of motorists cited lack of ‘try before you buy’ options as an obstacle to purchase and only 5 per cent of people surveyed said they are worried about manufacturer lead times in acquiring an EV.  

Bell concluded: “Whilst our survey findings confirm a greater willingness by company car drivers to adapt to an EV world, there are still some ownership concerns. 41 per cent of people we surveyed expressed concern over the practicalities of being able to charge their vehicle at home.  And 30% per cent said they had concerns over service, maintenance and repair costs.”

The Venson Automotive Solutions ‘Plug-In Vehicle Guide’ is free and can be downloaded here. 

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay