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Electric cars must be made louder: Switzerland

Electric cars must be made louder: Switzerland

The electric cars move too quiet to be heard, say the Swiss experts. If people can’t hear cars then their freedom of movement is seriously reduced, The Local Switzerland reports.

Switzerland works the laws for the electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars, all these new types of vehicles demand an attention. The requirements will be installed into the new laws, one of the most important ones is an artificial sound. According to Swiss people, the electric cars are too quiet, that perplexes pedestrians, especially blind ones.

The Swiss Association for the Blind (SBV) insists that all of the new vehicle types will eventually have to be installed with a so-called Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) which provides noise-based information to pedestrians and other vehicles on the road. Taking into account that the Swiss government is pushing for 15 percent of all vehicles on the roads to be electric by 2020, the soundless cars pose a real danger. To hit green energy targets shouldn’t mean worsening the accident statistics.

SBV follows requirements from the World Blind Union and the European Blind Union over concerns silent cars represent a serious threat to the safety and freedom of movement of blind and partially-sighted people. Even people with healthy sightseeing aren’t able sometimes to react to the coming electric car because of its quiet moving, so if we can’t hear cars then our freedom of movement is seriously reduced.

SBV also was disappointed Switzerland hadn’t gone further than EU rules by mandating stationary electric cars – at traffic lights or before pulling out of parking spots, for example– must emit noise, or by ruling AVAS systems cannot be turned off.

Under the new EU rules, drivers will initially be able to switch off noise-emitting systems, although this option will eventually disappear.

Meanwhile, the Swiss federal roads office (Astra) has noted that out of the 4.5 million passenger cars on the country’s roads, just 15,000 are electric and 67,000 are hybrid. “These [types of vehicles] don’t stand out particularly in the accident statistics,” an Astra spokesperson told the NZZ am Sonntag.