Europe says electric vehicles should make more noise … what?

This is too crazy to believe. With its Greenemotion project, Europe wanted to promote electric cars for their energy saving and silent operations in 2011.

Look, here is what their announcement said back then:

Electric vehicle ‘tank-to-wheels’ efficiency is a factor of about 3 higher than internal combustion engine vehicles. Electric vehicles emit no tailpipe CO2 and other pollutants such as NOx, NMHC and PM at the point of use. Electric vehicles provide quiet and smooth operation and consequently create less noise and vibration.

Now, last week, someone told me that Europe says those electric cars are too silent? I indeed found some references to that regulation (e.g. on BBC news), and could not believe that it was lobbied by associations in Brexiting UK, among others. While looking into the topic, I found out that the European Commission promoted silence in 2014, but already included a nasty little paragraph saying they would propose a minimum sound limit too, so that you could hear approaching vehicles – rather than adding a big paragraph saying the vehicles should detect the approaching pedestrians.

Those hybrid and electric vehicles seem to be too dangerous for pedestrians, because a pedestrian does not hear the car. They should, says EU, and hence probably jump aside like a football keeper catching the ball in the corner of the goal. I thought it should be the other way round … that cars should avoid the pedestrians. There are hundreds of different sensors available for car manufacturers to detect pedestrians, bicycle riders, cats & dogs (they even switch on the wipers then), objects like dustbins and trees, other cars, and who have you on the street. Self-driving cars are a reality, although politicians are still struggling with them. Self-parking is there today. Oh, and what if a pedestrian is between the two cars? Let’s hope the self-parking cars detect those pedestrians too.

In May 2015, with EU money, the eVADER project has developed a warning system that could warn the vulnerable road users in case of an emergency, and that is hardly unhearable by other people around. Project manager Juan J. García of Applus IDIADA (Spain, Europe) says: ““You can’t have electric vehicles that are very quiet and then put on speakers and start making an awful lot of noise.”

Quod non.


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