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.
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.
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.
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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