Silent but potentially deadly electric cars will have to be fitted with artificial ‘sound generators’ so blind and partially sighted pedestrians can hear them coming, the European Parliament voted today.
It is part of new EU legislation which will also require conventional cars and lorries with petrol and diesel engines to make 25% less noise.
The MEPs voted to introduce mandatory “acoustic vehicle alerting systems” (AVAS) – sounding like a conventional engine – to all new electric and hybrid cars to protect vulnerable road users.
It follows lobbying from British MEPs and campaign groups including Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars such as the all-electric BMWi3 or the Toyota Prius currently emit very little sound when running on electric power only.
Earlier proposals from the European Commission called for the installation of an artificial sound system to be done on a voluntary basis only. But Liberal Democrat MEPs [from the UK] successfully introduced an amendment making this a mandatory requirement for all electric and hybrid vehicles…