A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that hybrid and EVs are 37 percent more likely to cause accidents involving pedestrians, and 57% with cyclists; resulting in laws requiring new EVs to make noise at low speed to warn pedestrians.
There is now evidence that Tesla has started to add these noisemakers to the Tesla Model 3. VW and Mercedes have also confirmed their upcoming EVs will include fake sounds, with the latter even collaborating with Linkin Park.
Electrek obtained internal communications from Tesla describing the Pedestrian Warning System (PWS):
“Starting September 1, 2019, all Model 3 cars built for the US market now come with a Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) to meet US requirements.”
The sound is played at speeds up to 19 mph, as per the US regulation.
“The Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) is an audible tone played when the vehicle is moving slowly (up to 19 mph) in either Drive or Reverse. The sound is played via a speaker mounted in the front fascia and alerts nearby pedestrians of the car’s presence in low-speed situations.”
While it is always annoying to add unnecessary noise to the environment, you could potentially customise how annoying you want to be. A new proposal by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests drivers should be able to “select the sound they prefer from the set of sounds installed in the vehicle”.
Naturally, many (myself included) would be inclined to “play around” with the sounds to everyone in the close vicinity’s expense. For this reason, the NHTSA is thinking about limiting the number of fake sounds that manufacturers can install.
Whether you want to simulate the revving of your old manual car while sitting in stationary traffic or simply just inconvenience your immediate environment, the end result will, hopefully, be safer roads for all.