European Commission: Electric Vehicles Required to Have Pedestrian Alert System By 2019


If you happened to catch the recent 60 Minutes interview with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, then you surely noticed that in audio editing, 60 Minutes dubbed in some engine sounds.

60 Minutes openly admitted to the error:

“Our video editor made an audio editing error in our report about Elon Musk and Tesla last night. We regret the error and it is being corrected online.”

60 Minutes has since re-edited the footage to remove the engine noise, but as it turns out 60 Minutes was actually just foreshadowing what a Tesla Model S might sound like in Europe by 2019.

That’s because the European Commission has put forth legislation for the electric vehicle pedestrian alert system.  This legislation has been approved by the European Parliament and is expected to be given the final nod by the European Council in the coming months.

The Commission says this system will be required on all electric vehicles sold in member states by 2019.

This presents no problem for most automakers, as the system exists in some capacity on the majority of electric vehicles.  However, the system required by the legislation can not allow deactivation by drivers.  For example, automakers like Volkswagen and Nissan simply need to alter their existing pedestrian alert system so that they can’t be disabled.

The consensus among electric vehicle owners is that a pedestrian alert system is not needed.  However, we don’t have the final say in this matter.  If you reside in a European Union member state, then come 2019 electric vehicles will be required to make some noise.

What’s the right noise for the Model S?  Was 60 Minutes on the right track?  Or is an “engine” noise totally unacceptable for an electric vehicle?  Would you rather it go “beep”…”beep” or emit a whirring sound?

Below is video of the Renault Zoe emitting its pedestrian alert:

And here’s a more radical take on alerting pedestrians that your electric vehicle is headed their way:

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25 Comments on "European Commission: Electric Vehicles Required to Have Pedestrian Alert System By 2019"

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Their is few system that can not be deactivated by a owner whith a side cutter

If you temper with a safety feature like this, and the insurance company can proof it, you are in big (financial) trouble when you have an accident.

As long as the sound doesn’t bother me inside the car I don’t oppose such rules.

I have to say I did not find the choices of sound as annoying as I thought they might be so good job Renault.

I am still annoyed by such rulings. I can hear both the road noise and the high shrill from quite a distance.

What I would like to see is a decibel measure of high road noise and require ALL ICE vehicles omitting that much noise to do have the same requirement. Though some ICEs are large noise polluters there are plenty that are very low. If the laws were written this way it may have a different outcome.

Exactly. ALL vehicles should be subjected to this minimum sound requirement, not just EVs.

Sounds should be selectable, downloadable, customizable, and for sale like ringtones. I want that classic Jetson’s flying car sound.

I disagree. It should be a standard sound that is unobtrusive but that pedestrians learn to reconize as meaning “car”.

I hope they add a noise soon, and I hope there’s some way to retrofit my car to make the noise. I find it a real pain that pedestrians don’t hear me. There have been a couple of times that I’ve wanted to exist a parking lot or drive down a small road and pedestrians were just standing there in my way, because they didn’t realize the car was there. Then I wonder, “do I honk? That seems rude. Do I roll down the window and ask them to move? That seems awkward.” I usually end up just waiting, sometimes for a long time. I NEVER have that problem in my ICE car, in the same locations, because the pedestrians hear me.

I’ve also had a bicycle dart in front of me because he didn’t hear me and realize I was coming up behind him. That was terrifying, I barely avoided hitting him.

They can’t add a sound fast enough, in my opinion,

why not ad a pedestrian honrn, a silent honk to use in dose situations.

Road noise from tires and the whine of an electric drivetrain, already universally mean “car”…

Road noise from tires is probably sufficient at higher speeds – which I guess is why Renault cuts out the added noise over 30 kph. But at low speeds tire noise may not be enough.

Chevy Volts have a pedestrian alert. I’ve yet to use it.

Jetson’s flying car would be fun, or to go back even farther, the flubber flying car sound would make me grin.

Hey, that user name is already taken, bub. 🙁

The Karma’s warning noise is pretty cool. I always thought that it sounded a lot like this:

I would rather automakers install ultrasound transducers in each wheel well, to knock snow out of the vehicles tire tread, so they’re safer to drive in winter.

That would be a better use of onboard power and acoustics for safety.

Between the Volt’s fat A-pillar, and lack of noise, I think the A-pillar is actually a bigger hazard. When you’re tall, it hides people, apexes, cars…

so be intuitive and move your head from left to right to see… simple.

It’s ok. Model S has his own cognitive impairments…

Harrison Bergeron.

Shouldn’t a brain be required by all people?

Road is for cars, if your a measly human body walking across a road you better have checked it before crossing or being anywhere near it.

Screw a noise maker, disabled that crap in my ED. Dont want some dumb humming sound everywhere i go.

And you wanna know a standard noise maker?


How blessed you are to not have a family member or close friend who is blind. These acoustic generators are not for the absent minded texter, they are intended to alert the blind you are coming. Jerk.

0.25% of the population is blind, yet 100% will soon be required to listen to whatever whirring, buzzing, chirping, humming, or whining sound a group of government bureaucrats come up with for our cars. I would be happier if the engineers simply changed the switching frequency of the motor controller to a more audible frequency. Each OEM could “tune” their car’s sound the way ICE OEMs tune their exhaust to a distinctive note.

The answer is: Darwinisim.

I third the Jetsons as the sound. I have seen folks here with a jetsons sticker on the back of their leaf.

They could definitely keep people from disconnecting the speaker by having an annoying dash alert go off constantly that you couldn’t turn off. However, I doubt they could hide the speaker well enough that one couldn’t just mute the speaker by taping some sound insulation material over it.

Spray foam works great…

I’ve seen that Ylvis clip before…it cracks me up every time!

I used to drive a little Toyota Scion xA, and I really wanted to do something like that. Use the regular horn, but have the air horn on a separate switch for those who really need it. 😉