Minister of Transport wants to add sound emitters to hybrids, EVs

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra will propose amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations that will require all hybrid and electric vehicles to produce a minimum level of noise to protect visually impaired Canadians, cyclists, and pedestrians.

In a news release, Transport Canada said there is research indicating that the lack of sound from hybrids and EV engines at low speeds poses an increased risk of collision to these road users.

“Our government is committed to protecting vulnerable road users, and by adding more sound to hybrid and electric vehicles, we can reduce collisions,” said Alghabra. “I wish to acknowledge and thank the many safety and advocacy groups — especially those who advocate for visually impaired Canadians — for their tireless efforts to raise awareness and champion this issue.”

Many automakers have added sound emitters to hybrids and EVs, but Transport Canada’s new proposed regulation would make it the law and include specific standards. The proposed regulation would require the vehicles to be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (sound emitters) meant to produce sounds at low speeds.

“The volume and pitch from these sound emitters will vary depending on vehicle speed to allow road users to hear if a vehicle is speeding up or slowing down,” said Transport Canada.

The sound emitter system would need to be equipped on all hybrid and electric vehicles sold in Canada by 2023. Specifically, this means passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger cars, trucks, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kg or less would need to comply with the regulations.

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