Most markets are starting to require electric vehicles to make a sound at lower speeds to prevent pedestrian accidents, and Mercedes-Benz is now demonstrating the pedestrian sound for its EQC electric SUV.
Automakers have been taking different approaches to creating the sounds while complying with the new regulations.
Jaguar unveiled its own sound last month for the I-Pace.
Mercedes-Benz explained its own approach:
It is subject to these and many other regulations that the sound experts of the acoustic test facility at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) in Sindelfingen are working on giving a voice to the electrified Mercedes. Special microphones in the exterior sound testing facilities are used to develop an individually configured e-sound for each electric model. Simulations, measurements, evaluations, and detailed improvements continue until the result is perfect. During the subsequent test drives, there is a particularly sensitive passenger on board — the artificial head. This registers the tiniest noises, and comes impressively close to human hearing.
They released an interesting demonstration of their electric sound compared with gas-powered cars:
Daimler explains the variations in the different markets:
The Mercedes-Benz AVAS sound differs only slightly for the EU, Japan, and China. There are other requirements for the USA, for example, concerning the sound volume. Furthermore, the stationary vehicle must already generate a sound when a gear is engaged, becoming louder up to 30 km/h. Switching off the AVAS by the customer is prohibited in almost all countries.
It’s frustrating, because we thought that electric cars would reduce noise pollution, but it’s also understandable, because it is indeed more dangerous at a lower speed when tire sounds are also not significant.
Anyone who has been to an EV meet-up in a parking lot knows this. You always get surprised by a slow-moving car that creeps up behind you.
Some people claim that this is another conspiracy against EV, but I don’t subscribe to that thinking. I think it’s a well-intended regulation that will likely improve as we gain better understanding over the next few years.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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