Understanding EV Sound Requirements After Automotive School

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) has revolutionized the industry, introducing quieter, cleaner, and more efficient modes of transportation. However, this newfound quietness has brought a unique challenge to automotive schools and manufacturers: ensuring pedestrian safety. 

This has led to the development and implementation of EV sound requirements. For students fresh out of automotive school, understanding these regulations is crucial for navigating the evolving landscape of vehicle design and manufacturing.

Understanding the Silent Revolution of EVs After Automotive School

Unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts, EVs are stealthy on the road. While the lack of engine noise might appeal to some drivers, it presents a safety concern.  Pedestrians, cyclists, and even other drivers might need to be aware of an approaching EV, especially at low speeds.

Here’s where Electric Vehicle Sound Requirements (EVSRs) come in. Regulatory bodies worldwide have established guidelines for minimum sound levels that EVs must emit at low speeds. These sounds, often referred to as Audible Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS), serve two primary purposes:

  • Pedestrian Safety: EVSRs enhance pedestrian awareness, particularly for visually impaired individuals or those relying on auditory cues when navigating sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • Roadway Harmony: EVSRs can help maintain auditory order on the road. The presence of sound can prevent confusion and potential accidents, especially in situations where drivers might rely on engine noise to gauge an approaching vehicle’s speed.
An EV driving over a bridge, to be explored in hybrid and electrical mechanic training
As you’ll discover in automotive school, EVs must emit artificial sounds at low speeds.

Regulatory Response to Safety Concerns

As you’ll discover in automotive school, various regulatory bodies worldwide have mandated that EVs emit artificial sounds at low speeds to address this safety concern. 

These regulations are designed to enhance pedestrian awareness and prevent accidents. Understanding these requirements is essential for automotive professionals, particularly those involved in EV design and development.

Key EV Sound Regulations

United States

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established regulations requiring EVs and hybrid vehicles to emit sounds when travelling below 18.6 miles per hour (30 kilometres per hour). 

These sounds must be easily detectable and recognizable as vehicle noise, helping pedestrians, especially those who are visually impaired, to identify the presence of a vehicle.

European Union

The European Union has similar regulations under the EU Regulation No 540/2014. This regulation mandates that EVs and hybrid vehicles produce artificial noise. The sound must be continuous and vary according to the vehicle’s speed to provide clear auditory feedback to pedestrians.


Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) also requires EVs to emit low-speed sounds. The Japanese regulation specifies that sound must be made when moving at speeds up to 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 miles per hour) and in reverse, ensuring that pedestrians can accurately judge the vehicle’s speed and distance.

An array of EV vehicles in a traffic jam, to be explored in hybrid and electrical mechanic training
EVs are regulated to produce recognizable sounds, as you’ll learn about in automotive school.

Designing EV Sounds: Challenges and Considerations

For a hybrid and electric vehicle mechanic and other automotive professionals, creating artificial sounds for EVs presents a unique set of challenges. The sound must meet regulatory requirements, align with the brand’s identity, and provide a positive user experience. Here are some key considerations:

Sound Characteristics

The artificial sound must be distinct and recognizable as vehicle noise. It should vary in pitch and volume based on the vehicle’s speed to provide accurate feedback to pedestrians. Engineers often collaborate with sound designers to create effective and pleasant sounds.

Integration With Vehicle Systems

The sound generation system must seamlessly integrate with the vehicle’s existing systems. This includes ensuring that the sound varies appropriately with acceleration and deceleration. Additionally, the system should be durable and reliable, maintaining functionality throughout the vehicle’s lifespan.

Brand Identity

Automotive manufacturers often aim to create sounds that reflect their brand identity. For instance, a luxury EV brand might opt for a refined, sophisticated sound, while a sporty EV brand might choose a more dynamic and energetic tone. Balancing regulatory compliance with brand identity is a key challenge for designers.

Are you interested in our hybrid and electrical mechanic training?

Contact ATC Surrey for more information. 

Form is submitting