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Survey finds petrol or diesel-style noise the preferred safety choice for EVs

Date: 14 November 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

British road users would prefer noises emitted by electric vehicles (EVs) for safety reasons to resemble conventional petrol or diesel cars, according to a survey by Venson Automotive Solutions.

EU legislation means all new electric car models have had to be fitted with acoustic voice alert systems (AVAS) from 1 July this year, while existing models will need to be sold with the devices by July 2021.

When asked about how they thought these devices should sound, 43% of road users surveyed said they would like to hear a noise that mimics a diesel or petrol car engine.

23% would prefer a continuous low decibel sound, while 6% said they would choose something completely different, such as classical music, whale song or ocean waves.

Venson Automotive Solutions marketing director Alison Bell 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."

EU laws also mean that from 2021, EV drivers will be able to manually trigger a warning sound, similar to a horn but less urgent, to alert pedestrians and other road users to their presence.

Of those surveyed, 70% said they would prefer a conventional horn sound, with just 13% preferring to hear a phrase such as 'EV approaching'.

Bell said: "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."