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Do electric cars make noise?

By Stephen Turvil | March 2, 2023

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Revealed: why electric cars have to make noise in the UK. How Acoustic Sound Systems make it easier for pedestrians to hear quiet, zero emission, electric cars.

Do electric cars make noise?

Fully electric cars can be noisy but less so than petrols and diesels, largely because they don’t require the mechanical valves, fans or gears of traditional combustion engines.

Electric cars must make noise at low speed, by law

Because electric cars are that much quieter - and therefore harder to hear - since July 1st 2019, any ‘new type’ electric car must be built with an Acoustic Sound System to minimise risk of collisions. This makes cars more noisy at low speed. When moving forward or back at up to 12mph, electric vehicles must emit a sound via a speaker that pedestrians can hear. 

Electric car noise at higher speed

An Acoustic Sound System is not required at higher speed typically because there are fewer pedestrians, if any, on faster A-roads and motorways whilst there’s also the added tyre noise that makes it easier to hear approaching cars.

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