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The days of blissful cruising in your EV may be coming to an end, as Tesla is starting to get ready to comply with European and US laws on the amount of noise electric cars make.
Naturally quieter than ICE cars, disability groups have complained that the cars posed an increased risk to visually impaired and inattentive people, and that they are associated with more incidents with pedestrians, with a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing that hybrid and EVs are 37 percent more likely to cause accidents involving pedestrians. When it comes to cyclists, that statistic jumps to 57 percent.
This has resulted in laws requiring new EVs to make noise at low speed to warn pedestrians, and there is now evidence that Tesla has started to add these noisemakers to the Tesla Model 3.
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.”
A video from earlier this year showed where the speakers are located.
The speakers will also roll out to the Model S and X in due time.
While it is always annoying to add unnecessary noise to the environment, reportedly the sound is mainly audible outside the cabin and does not intrude significantly inside the car, meaning owners should not be too inconvenienced by this necessary safety device.