Electric cars on Switzerland’s roads will be required by mid-2019 to make an artificial noise as a safety measure for the blind, reports the Sunday newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.
An acoustic system is to be installed that produces engine noises through watertight external speakers. This requirement will apply also to new fuel cell and hybrid vehicles.
Noise produced by the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) is nevertheless quieter than a combustion engine.
“For us the introduction of this system is vital,” Joel Favre of the Swiss Federation for the Blind and Partially Sighted told NZZ am Sonntag. His organization is nevertheless pushing for Switzerland to go further than the EU and require electric cars to emit a noise when they are stationary as well as when they are driving along.
Out of the 4.5 million cars on Switzerland’s roads in 2017 only 15,000 were electric and 67,000 hybrid. However, the government is pushing for a significant increase by 2022 as part of efforts to meet climate targets.
When United States lawmakers were debating similar hybrid and electric vehicle sound requirements years ago, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration developed some samples of what enhanced cars could sound like. Here are two examples that were developed in 2013 and recorded against ambient noise for comparison.