Vehicles like the Nissan Leaf shown here in London, will soon be required to make noise.

The European Union is imposing a new rule on battery electric vehicles, requiring them to sound like a vehicle with a gasoline or diesel engine.

The regulation is designed to address concerns that low-emission cars and vans are too quiet, putting pedestrians at risk because they cannot be heard as they approach. Fatal accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists have risen in many countries during the past decade.

All new types of four-wheel electric vehicles must be fitted with the device, which sounds like a traditional engine, according to the regulation. The new system, dubbed an “acoustic vehicle alert system,” must sound when reversing or traveling below 12 miles per hour.

The British charity Guide Dogs – which complained it was difficult to hear low-emission cars approaching – told the BBC that it welcomed the change. But it also said electric vehicles should make a sound at all speeds.

(Survey: Most Americans See EVs as City, Commuter Cars)

New Teslas sold in Europe will need to make noise to alert pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence.


Great Britain’s Roads Minister Michael Ellis said the government wanted “the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone” and understood the concerns of the visually impaired.

“This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road,” he added.

Starting in 2021, all new electric cars must have an Avas, not just new models.

(EVs Expected to Cost Sales as Gas-Powered Cars by 2022)

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that Britain’s biggest automaker, Jaguar Land Rover, is expected to announce plans to build electric cars at its central English Castle Bromwich factory.

An all-electric version of its XJ luxury sedan will be the first of three new vehicles to be made from a common skeleton. It will be followed by a sport-utility vehicle, the newspaper said.

The company could not immediately be reached for comment late on Saturday.

(CEO Says VW Ready to Build 50 Million EVs)

The announcement by JLR would be a bright spot for the British automotive sector, which has been hit by job cuts, plant closure announcements and falling sales in recent months linked to tumbling demand for diesel vehicles and the uncertainty around Brexit, which is now scheduled for Oct. 31.

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