Vision Australia warn of electric vehicle threat.

Just last week we told you about the amount of work Jaguar had put into ensuring pedestrians can hear the new I-PACE. Now a report by Vision Australia and Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has further highlighted how things need to change quickly in this country. In recent months we have reported on any number of major players who are set to unleash EV cars, including the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Nissan Leaf.

MUARC identified that 35 per cent of people who are blind or suffer from vision problems had either had a collision or near-miss with an electric or hybrid car. This problem has been occurring for years even with pedestrians who have 20/20 vision. Trust me, I know having owned a Toyota Camry Hybrid for the last eight years.

While the overall numbers of hybrid and EV cars is still very low we can expect a dramatic uptake over the coming decades. Some estimates predict electric vehicles will make up 90 per cent of the overall car population by 2050.


Vision Australia General Manager Karen Knight said, “While there are many advantages of electric cars, the quiet engines make it incredibly difficult to hear them coming especially when they’re travelling at low speeds.”

“This can be a real problem in car parks and near driveways, and is a major concern for distracted pedestrians, children, the elderly and people who are blind or have low vision.”

MUARC research fellow Dr Sara Liu added, “Our research has highlighted that the risk of incidents between electric and hybrid vehicles is likely to increase unless measures are taken to protect vulnerable road users.”

“With the number of electric vehicles globally and in Australia projected to increase, with cumulative estimates of more than 500 million electric vehicles sold globally by 2040, it’s important to do something now.”

Vision Australia is urging the Australian Government to adopt the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). This system is found onboard the the Jaguar I-PACE.

“The AVAS would require an electric or hybrid vehicle to make a noise when travelling up to and include 20km/h, while travelling forward or in reverse”

“Regulatory authorities in the US and Europe moved quickly with regulations on minimum noise standards for electric and hybrid vehicles and we believe now is the time for Australia to follow suit,”  Karen Knight said.

It’s time for government legislators to step up and address this problem that’s fast approaching.

Co Authors :

Vision Australia warn of electric vehicle threat.


  1. kent beuchert

    October 15, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    This may be the dumbest claim yet – that there are no cars out there that make no noise except electric vehicles. actually electric vehicles all make tire noise. There are many small cars especially, that cannot be heard by pedestrians. Claming that pedestrians are
    complete dopes and cannot understand that a car has to make noise for them to avoid them is pure BS.

    • Chris Bowen

      October 16, 2018 at 5:54 am

      Conversely this may be the dumbest comment yet. Did you read the article? We are talking about speeds under 20km/h and blind pedestrians. Have you driven a hybrid or electric car in a shopping centre car park? They don’t make a noise, ask any owner.

      • Jason Rogers

        October 16, 2018 at 10:39 am

        I’m an owner. They do make noise under 20 km/h. It’s usually described as a low growl.

        This report is deeply flawed, as any responsible journalist could have discovered before regurgitating it.

        Of the thousands of visitors to the Vision Australia website who were asked to respond if they’d had an indecent, less than 250 did respond. Of them only 12 had actually had an incident. 66 of the respondents also said they were hearing impaired, but the researchers didn’t note how many of the 12 were also hearing impaired, possibly all of them, which would mean an audible warning would be ineffective. Respondents were pre coached that EVs are silent and dangerous. The respondents self identified the type of vehicle involved. Given the very low numbers of EVs (0.2% according to the study) and the thousands asked to respond it’s statistically likely that all 12 are ‘false positives’

        • Chris Bowen

          October 16, 2018 at 10:59 am

          A low growl? I’d be getting a service. Mate we are talking about the decades ahead. What EV car do you own?

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