The human population is used to the noises made by the standard gasoline engines. However, electric vehicles that are quickly taking up the automobile segment, are completely silent.
This might be good in bringing down the overall noise pollution but it also has negative effects of its own.
Why Is No EV Noise An Issue?
The complete absence of engine noise creates a lot of difficulties for pedestrians especially those with impaired abilities.
Electric Car Noise Law
The issue is so precarious that the EU had to step into the matter and thus a special law was devised in July 2019 which was called the electric car noise law.
Which EVs Are Required By Law To Produce Noise?
According to the electric car noise law, all newly produced EVs are required to have a noise-producing device installed in them. This would enable the pedestrians to know what’s coming behind them.
The law also bound existing EV owners to get such devices installed on their electric vehicles by July 2021.
Acoustic Vehicle Alert System
This system known as the Acoustic vehicle Alert System or AVAS produces a virtually similar sound to that produced by a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE).
Under What Conditions Does The AVAS Produce Sound?
The AVAS has been barred by the law to produce a sound when the vehicle is reversing and or moving forward at a speed below 30 kph. The intensity of the sound should be no less than 56 decibels.
What Is The World Saying About This?
Many people still believe that the step taken by the EU is not enough. They say that regardless of the speed at which the vehicle is travelling, a sound resembling that of the ICE should always be produced.
Besides this, its level should be so high that background noise doesn’t suppress it.
Noise Pollution EVs vs Petrol cars
While petrol cars produce a lot of noise because of the mechanically moving parts such as engines, gears, tyres and even the fan that’s used to keep the engine cool, the EVs are completely free from such noises.
The only sound that an EV produces is when its tyres move on the tarmac or due to the air resistance but both these sounds are negligible below 30 kph.
That’s why when an EV is travelling at a speed slower than this, it is nearly silent and almost impossible to be detected by a pedestrian.
What Will Be The Combined Effect?
While many people see this as a positive decision because it makes pedestrians more alert and safe, environmentalists and EV enthusiasts have criticized it.
Such people believe that the primary goal of transitioning to an electric platform is to make the planet greener and less polluted.
The world is already dealing with a lot of noise pollution issues, and electric vehicles appeared to be the answer. However, with European law mandating the installation of AVAS in EVs, noise pollution will only worsen.
Critics argue that while each EV may not generate a lot of noise, the cumulative effect of millions of EVs operating all over the world will significantly contribute to global noise pollution.
Is It Even Required?
While research suggests that people are 40% more likely to be killed because of the low noise produced by EVs, those opposed to installing AVAS argue that pedestrians walk on footpaths rather than roads.
Furthermore, all pedestrians walking near moving vehicles must always be alert, and the need for the AVAS is negligible in this case.
Moreover, many people believe that earphones and headphones pose a greater risk of causing road accidents because they distract pedestrians, and since no law exists prohibiting their use while out in public, why are EVs facing such a severe hostile response?
As the world is already facing immense noise pollution issues, adding one that will have a huge overall impact might not be the way to go.
Instead, we need to make our pedestrians more responsible so they can remain alert while moving on the roads.