Artificial sounds on EVs.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AM9, 30 Jun 2019.

  1. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,375
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    The news today is that from tomorrow, new Electric Vehicles will be required to make suitable warning noises at low speeds to alert pedestrians and cyclists of their approach. This will be provided via loudspeakers mounted front and rear for forward and revers motion use. Although the driver will be able to silence the sounds, it will be there by default (so will reset to on when the vehicle is restarted).
    I remember a few years ago when the law was passed and wondered if this would start an after-sales market for custom sounds. I can just imagine somebody wanting to change their reserved but perfectly adequate Fiesta sound for that of a V8 muscle car, or for an F1 racer scream (pre current silencer rules). Maybe there is an opportunity to have a more abstract sound like a clattery diesel, a clip from Kraftwerk's Autobahn, horses from walk, through canter to gallop, or even a Desiro spaceship tone.
    Any views here?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,009
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I'm not in support. Generally, EVs provide an opportunity to reduce pollution by vehicles. One significant aspect of vehicular pollution is noise pollution.

    However, I do see the issue for blind people and am not quite sure of what the best solution for them would be (other than drivers paying more attention, and automatic collision avoidance features which are becoming common and could be made mandatory on new vehicles quite soon).
     
  4. Welly

    Welly Member

    Messages:
    226
    Joined:
    15 Nov 2013
    I wouldn't mind installing Class 37 sounds in an EV - at least it sounds like a tractor!
     
  5. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

    Messages:
    1,790
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    Does this mean that other silent vehicles on the roads will have to have sounds fitted? I see the return of playing cards stuck to the forks of your bike to make a sound against the spokes?
    More seriously though, at low speeds, you usually hear tyre noise from cars before engine noise.
     
  6. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    6,821
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    Living next to a busy road one of the things I was looking forward to was vehicles getting quieter!
     
  7. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,623
    Joined:
    6 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The sort of noises that already exist are hardly intrusive. My parents have an Outlander PHEV which does have an AVAS and that's just a soft electronic groan (best way of describing it), you can't even hear it from inside the car over the sound of the running gear though!

    Ditto the I Pace, which also opts for a sort of electronic groan that you can hear at a few points in this video
     
  8. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

    Messages:
    6,094
    Joined:
    13 Dec 2013
    Location:
    UK
    There was an excellent segment on the one show about how Jaguar designed their sound.
     
  9. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,609
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    The sound will only be heard when vehicles are travelling slow, and hopefully the artificial noise will be quieter than a petrol car travelling at low speed.
     
  10. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,375
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    Whilst I generally agree with you, waiting for most drivers to recognise the risks that elderly/hard of hearing/other disadvantaged non
    -driving road users face will be a path with a lot of accidents along it. I do remember the trolleybuses in London, - their silent speedy progress caught many unfortunate hearing person out, but they continued in use for over 40 years.
    My thoughts were also about the ability of the driver to turn the sound off. If that was recorded as an action, I imagine that it could be presented as evidence of a driver disabling a safety warning device.
    Ultimately, the volume level would only need to be about that of the quietest ic vehicles which in terms of forward travel don't include the low frequencies emitted by the exhaust. That sound's level could easily be made proportional to the amount of torque being demanded, which of course would also indicate how fast the car was accelerating.
     
  11. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,375
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    Once they reached 19km/h they would be. Compare that to a noisy diesel or older petrol fuelled car being floored away from standstill.
     
  12. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,375
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    In my experience, tyre noise from a car travelling at the sort of speeds that EVS will be emitting electronic sounds are almost inaudible unless they are the only moving vehicle around.
     
  13. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    I’m sure every visually impaired person in the country would be delighted to know that if/when the EV hits them, that they didn’t hear it because it’s travelling fast enough to kill them and at that speed they don’t have to make a sound. Seems perverse that the volume would go up when the vehicle slows down and is less dangerous.

    I realise many people think it’s a stupid idea to have artificial noise but I’m told it’s genuinely difficult to know when these vehicles are approaching. There’s plenty of other ambient noise around to muffle the EV sound (wind, trees rustling, diesel/petrol engines) so let’s give the blind guy a fair chance, after all he doesn’t have the choice of using an EV and does a lot more walking than somebody who does use one.
     
  14. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,609
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    But presumably the vehicle will be making quite a bit of noise when travelling fast (although less than the equivalent petrol/diesel vehicle) hence why this rule is only intended for slow speeds. If that's not the case, then the rule needs to apply at higher speeds.
     
  15. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    Playing cards just weren’t up to the job! For us it had to be one of those cheap thin plastic cups cut into strips, much more noise, lasted longer! As a bonus the plastic was also used for a second purpose which reduced our consumption of single use plastics. Wow we were early eco warriors back in the seventies!
     
  16. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    8,425
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    When Croydon Tramlink was in gestation, and for quite a long period before its eventual, long-delayed opening, there were no plans for a bell/horn/whatever that could be rung/sounded by the tram driver. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and an accident that could well have been fatal was averted on the very first run of the first tram. I can tell you this because, by an absolutely freakish chance, I was in central Croydon on the completely unannounced and unexpected Wednesday lunchtime when tram service began. I'd decided to drive back home from a conference in Brighton to Penzance via Croydon (why? I still don't know myself!) and as I drove down Wellesley Road to access the Whitgift Centre car park I noted the continued absence of any tram activity months after testing had begun. I resolved to have a quick snack and drink before setting off for the M25, and headed down North End to the pub area for a choice of menu. At the junction with George Street where the tram tracks crossed the pedestrian area,, with almshouses on the corner obscuring the view round the corner, I was a few yards behind a mother with toddler toddling a few feet in front of her and then, suddenly, a clanging of bell followed by scream of mother as the first tram with Mayor etc visible at the front and a suitable headboard came out of the blue from the left, luckily at probably a lower speed than it might have been normally doing. I'm convinced the bell's sounding was sufficient to propel the youngster faster and contact was averted by about two seconds by my reckoning: there was no time for braking, and the tram continued on its way. The mother was understandably shaken, and TBH so was I, and we agreed it was best not to think of what might have happened. I wonder if the bell has saved any other lives: obviously, people in Croydon and elsewhere quickly got used to the presence of trams amongst them.
     
  17. dgl

    dgl Member

    Messages:
    1,002
    Joined:
    5 Oct 2014
    I will say our one electric van at work can easily sneak up on people so I think these systems are very much necessary
     
  18. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    There’s probably some sound I suppose but definitely not at a level where somebody could confidently cross the road independently if an almost silent vehicle could be careering towards them. What is the cut off between low and high speed anyway. Take a suburban road without crossings that I assume would have a 30mph speed limit. If we say the rule applies to 30mph and under, what happens when the plonker who thinks he can do 35mph in that area is approaching and the blind person believes the road is safe because all cars that travel that way have to emit sound?

    The rule should apply to all EVs without exception. It would also be unsafe to allow a driver to override and turn it off.

    I get that there are concerns about noise pollution so why not have the volume adjusted a little automatically to match the ambient sound levels in real time
     
  19. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    Actually, now mention it, even Diesel engines on buses can be too quiet these days. I’ve been waiting for a bus and watching something over the other side of the road or to my left, only to be completely shocked by a bus sneaking in front of me face without hearing it at all. Admittedly there was a fair bit of traffic around
     
  20. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    6,821
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    A couple of posters have made some very fair comments above about the visually impaired having difficulty hearing an approaching EV.
    I walked in front of one in our local Esso garage last year and jumped out of my skin when I realised I’d nearly walked into a moving vehicle (the guy driving was having a chuckle to himself though because he could see what I was about to do).
    I was listening to somebody on the radio recently who was visually impaired and waited at the same bus stop for the same bus every weekday, but had recently found that a driver delivering to an adjacent bakery had decided to unload whilst leaving his engine running (sorry I will get back on topic in a moment), this meant her missing the bus numerous times as she couldn’t hear it coming over the sound of the engine running (despite her asking him to switch it off a number of times).
    Something I must admit that I hadn’t really thought about before...

    Anyway regarding artificial noise on an electric vehicle - I’d rather have vehicles with a set decibel level and basic sound (as long is it didn’t make a noise like a trumpet or a whoopie cushion that is) going past than some of the ridiculously loud cars that boy racers storm past ours in at times.
    There’s something about traffic passing that feels quite agitated.
    It messes my chi up. I’d move, but I like it here, and thankfully it does go quiet in the evening.
     
  21. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,375
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    As there is likely to be in the future, (even a stream of EVs running above the speed when sounds are required would distract many pedestrians from a single slowly approaching vehicle).
     
  22. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    :D Let’s hope not. The Jaguar video posted earlier did look promising. I’d like to see in working to fully make my mind up.

    Just one more though about visual impairment...

    EV without artificial sound + shared space = HELL!!!
     
  23. J-2739

    J-2739 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,661
    Joined:
    30 Jul 2016
    Location:
    SY
    Sounds awful.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,009
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Shared spaces don't work for the visually impaired full stop. A bicycle, for instance, is pretty much silent. They really are not a great solution - full segregation (pedestrian, cycle, motor vehicles) is best.
     
  25. Giugiaro

    Giugiaro Member

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    4 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Valongo - Portugal
    Yet, electric locomotives/EMU's are quite noisy when running.
    I guess it's a difference in voltage/power?
     
  26. nlogax

    nlogax Established Member

    Messages:
    1,220
    Joined:
    29 May 2011
    Give us the ability to upload our own sounds. This will be mine.

     
  27. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

    Messages:
    3,667
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2009
    Location:
    Birmingham
    How did we cope when the milk floats were battery powered? Maybe it was the clink of the milk bottles that acted as an audible warning :)
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,009
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Most of them had classic DC motor noises.
     
  29. talltim

    talltim Established Member

    Messages:
    2,168
    Joined:
    17 Jan 2010
    Valenta for me
     
  30. JohnMcL7

    JohnMcL7 Member

    Messages:
    270
    Joined:
    18 Apr 2018
    I can see the lack of noise being a problem as I quickly found when I started cycling how often pedestrians just step out in front of the bike as they don't hear the bike and they don't look first. Even the fat bike which runs on 4in tyres at very low pressure that make an audible and distinctive rumble on tarmac which I'd say is quite a bit louder than any normal car tyre noise but many don't hear that either.
     
  31. nlogax

    nlogax Established Member

    Messages:
    1,220
    Joined:
    29 May 2011
    Fine choice!
     

Share This Page