Daily Mail Readers in Uproar Over EU Plans to Make Electric Cars Noisy

The Daily Mail is the second-largest newspaper in the UK. It’s also known for its hatred of electric cars, Europeans, and liberal politics.

If there's one thing Daily Mail readers hate more than electric cars, it's the European Union...

If there’s one thing Daily Mail readers hate more than electric cars, it’s the European Union…

So when Daily Mail readers jumped to decry a new EU ruling stipulating all electric cars make noise, we had to laugh.

Yesterday, the European Union voted in favour of new legislation requiring all new electric cars sold in the EU be fitted with Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) within the next five years.

At the same time, the EU updated noise emissions requirements for internal combustion engine vehicles, requiring all new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles — including busses, passenger cars and commercial vehicles — to reduce their noise output in stages by 4 dBA by 2024. The new legislation aims to reduce traffic-related noise output by 25 percent from internal combustion engine vehicles over the next twelve years.

Addressing fears that children, the elderly and visually-impaired road users are at higher risk of being hit by electric cars because they cannot hear them coming, the EU says the mandatory noise alert system for all electric and hybrid cars will make them safer for everyone.

Within five years, all new EVs will have to come with noise makers as standard.

Within five years, all new EVs will have to come with noise makers as standard.

Currently, many automakers — including Nissan, Renault and Mercedes-Benz — include noise generation technology in some of their plug-in vehicles.  Operating at speeds below 20 km per hour (12 mph), each pedestrian alert system — which differ slightly from one another in operation and noise — tend to produce a rising audible alert that we’d describe as a cross between a traditional car engine, a caricatured electric motor and a space ship.

Above these slow city speeds, the noise of the car’s tyres is far louder than any noise made by an engine or artificial noise maker, so it’s worth noting that the requirement only covers low-speed driving.

What isn’t quite clear from yesterday’s ruling is if all low-or zero emission vehicles — like hydrogen fuel cell cars — will be required to make noise as electric and hybrid cars will. It’s also not detailed yet what noise will be acceptable or how the tests for appropriate noise production will be carried out.

What we do know however, is that a new, improved sound emissions test will be part of new vehicle type approval. Essentially a set of tests that all new production vehicles must pass before they can be sold in the EU, type approval is a Europe-wide standard, so any new plug-in car sold in the EU will have to comply.

Everything from the Tesla Model S to the Renault ZOE will need noise makers. The ZOE already has them included.

Everything from the Tesla Model S to the Renault ZOE will need noise makers. The ZOE already has them included.

While the discussion over electric car noise makers — and if they are really necessary — is likely to continue for many years to come, we can’t help but admit to giggling at some of the reactions we’ve seen in the media to this latest EU directive.

Normally known for their hatred of electric cars and its opinion that electric cars do not and will never make sense, scores of Daily Mail readers are now rushing to comment on The Daily Mail’s coverage of this particular story, defending electric cars instead of dismissing them.

In the world of Daily Mail readership, it seems there’s one thing more hated than electric cars: directives from the European Union legislative.

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  • Chris Brooks

    Well the Twizy already has that noise switch. But I prefer to use the “in car entertainment” (ice!). Turn the volume up and they hear you. Now what should we play – a bit of Gary Newman and ‘driving in my car’. May be ICE ICE baby!

  • Richard Glover

    This ruling makes perfect sense me, after all electric vehicle drivers do not have the benefit of a man with red flag proceeding their vehicles able to usher people out of their way.

  • just someone old

    the eu contradicts themselves ! they rule for less noisepolution, and in the same rule they create more noisepolution!nncrazy!nthese people just like to make noise about themselves I think

  • Tony Castley

    Man I am wonder on how badly people can write legislation. If they want quieter cars AND cars that can be heard at low speed then write it like this: “All vehicles must produce a minimum noise of x dBA below y km/h. Stationary noise must not exceed z dBA.” Then list the WAY this is measured for different drive types.

  • neroden

    The noisemaker rules are basically an attack on electric cars. We have them in the US too. They’re stupid stupid stupid — mandated noise pollution, really? It’s also been documented that blind people don’t actually react to the artificial noise due to the extreme amount of background noise already present.