22 Jul 2019


Since July 1, 2019 it is mandatory to build in an acoustic warning system in electric vehicles. This decision is a result of new EU legislation. It requires that the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) be installed in newly registered hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles - including trucks and buses - for the protection of other road users. In the EU, the warning sound is mandatory up to a speed of 20 km/h. The legislation describes in great detail how an AVAS warning may and may not sound. This applies, for example, to the minimum and maximum noise production, and to certain noise criteria.

Brigade Electronics has introduced the QVS (Quiet Vehicle Sounder), a system developed in accordance with the provisions of the new European directive on the noise of electric vehicles. The company reports that the European Union decided in 2014, through Regulation EU No 540/2014, that all electric and hybrid vehicles must make an artificial noise at speeds up to 20 km/h. And that this regulation comes into force on July 1 this year.

According to Brigade, this means that all new types of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, must be fitted with an acoustic warning system. The noise must resemble an internal combustion engine and must consist of frequencies that are also perceptible to the elderly and the hearing impaired. The volume must be a minimum of 56 dB and a maximum of 70 dB at 20 km/h. The Brigade QVS system is based on white noise, a multi-frequency sound that can be located on its direction, and can only be heard where it matters: in the danger zone. This prevents unnecessary noise pollution.

From 2025 all new buses must be electric and from 2030 all buses must be replaced by the electric variant and must therefore also make artificial noise. Brigade states that although some city buses are equipped with a tram bell in the Netherlands, that noise does not comply with official guidelines.

In support, Brigade recalls a study by the US Department of Transportation that showed that electric vehicles are 37% more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents than conventional vehicles. Electric vehicles are not noticed if they travel under 20 kilometers per hour. This poses an even greater danger for blind and visually impaired people, because this group mainly focuses on hearing.

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