With the rise of electric cars on an ever upward slope, a few issues start to arise. One of those is obviously their silent momentum, especially at low speeds like in a shopping centre carpark. Try negotiating one in a Tesla, pedestrians simply will not move out of the way purely because they’ve no idea you’re creeping up behind them.
There are hybrid cars that emit some kind of audible noise, but the Jaguar I-PACE has really nailed it. An Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) is designed to exceed all forthcoming legislation. The sound can be head up to 20km/h and is louder than the 56dB required by the European law from July 2019.
The sound was even tested by a member of Guide Dogs for the Blind in the UK. Iain Suffield, Jaguar NVH Technical Specialist, said: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired. This is especially true at low speeds in town centres and car parks. We developed the Audible Vehicle Alert System for the I-PACE to ensure the safety of all road users. Our potentially life-saving technology cannot be switched off and as the leading charity for people with sight loss, we are pleased to have the support of Guide Dogs to ensure real people are at the heart of our product testing.”
Four years were spent to come up with a soundtrack that can be heard without driving those inside the car to distraction. Originally it was inspired by the sound of sci-fi spacecraft, but engineers found pedestrians looked to the sky instead, like the Jetsons had arrived.
The final sound comes from a speaker in the front grille, it can be heard in every direction and can’t be switched off. The sound ramps up in pitch and volume as speed increases. There’s even a different noise for a reversing I-PACE.
John Welsman, Policy Business Partner (Travel & Mobility), Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “Guide Dogs campaigned hard to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built in and turned on, including when the vehicle is stationary at a pedestrian crossing. We applaud Jaguar for being the first to launch an EV which meets standards before the new legislation even comes in and look forward to working with the company more in the future.”
To find out more about the system watch this fascinating video!