EU to lower conventional car noise but make electric cars louder

Low emissions zone
4 Apr, 2014 12:00pm Jake-Aman Shah

New EU ruling will lower noise levels of new ICE vehicles and make all electric cars use Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System

The European Parliament has approved a law to reduce new car noise-levels by 4 decibels via a three-phase plan which will begin in 2016. The legislation will also require all electric cars to make an articficial noice to warn pedestrians of their presence.

The European Union will implement the first part of the three-phase plan as of July 1 2016. The second phase will come into effect from 2020, and the final part in 2024. The first part of the EU's proposed plan will only apply to new engine noise limits in new vehicle types. The second and third phases will bring in lower decibel values and also include all new vehicles produced in 2022 and 2025, two years after they begin.

The new legislation will require car manufacturers to use EU-wide labelling to display the noise of their cars in decibels which are similar to the labels already in use for displaying efficiency ratings and noise characteristics on tyres for sale across the EU.

EU aims for 25 per cent decrease in noise pollution by 2026

Once the programme is fully implemented, the levels of vehicle noise pollution will fall by 25 per cent. Current limits are at 74 db with proposed limits capped at 68 db by 2026.

The initial 4-decibel decrease will apply to passenger vehicles, vans, buses and coaches with lorries subject to a decrease of 3 db.

“This is a good compromise for everybody," said Czech Conservative MEP, Miroslav Ouzky, about the decision. "[It] will work to protect the health of European citizens in the long term”

Along with the ruling on new cars, a proposal to make electric cars louder was also approved. The ‘Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System’ will be made mandatory for all electric cars in the EU after a five year transitional phase. These measures are expected to improve road safety and help avoid road accident injuries.