The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

News: EU orders silent electric cars to make a noise

ELECTRIC CARS will have to produce as much noise as cars powered by internal combustion engines, under new EU rules.


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ELECTRIC CARS will have to produce as much noise as cars powered by internal combustion engines, under new EU rules. Euro MPs have decided that on safety grounds electric cars must lose one of their key advantages over their petrol and diesel counterparts — that they are less noisy. They are concerned that electric cars could be unnoticed by other road users, especially pedestrians.

Under the new rules — expected to come into force next year — electric and hybrid cars will have to artificially generate the sound of an engine revving below speeds of 13mph. Above that speed, tyre and wind noise will be enough to alert other road users.

The new legislation also says the artificial sounds already generated by some electric cars — such as the Blade Runner-type whine made by the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe — are inadequate because they are not instantly recognisable as the noises of a car.