Electrek has learned that Tesla started adding a pedestrian sound warning system to Model 3 in order to comply with regulations.
Recently, both the US and EU made it mandatory for electric vehicles to emit a sound at low speed in order to prevent pedestrian accidents.
Automakers have started implementing their solutions.
We previously reported on Jaguar’s system for the I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz’s pedestrian sound system for the EQC electric SUV.
Now Tesla is also moving to comply with the latest regulation starting with an update for the Model 3.
Electrek obtained communications from Tesla to its sales staff about adding the Pedestrian Warning System (PWS):
“Starting September 1, 2019, all Model 3 cars built for the US market now come with a Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) to meet US requirements.”
The sound is played at speeds up to 19 mph, as per the US regulation.
Tesla added in the memo to staff:
“The Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) is an audible tone played when the vehicle is moving slowly (up to 19 mph) in either Drive or Reverse. The sound is played via a speaker mounted in the front fascia and alerts nearby pedestrians of the car’s presence in low-speed situations.”
We already knew where it would be mounted since Tesla first changed the underside of the front-end of the Model 3 to have a speaker grill.
Tesla’s memo confirms that it is where the speaker is located:
In the memo, Tesla also says that it has yet to add the device to the Model S or Model X, but the two vehicles will follow.
I know that this new rule is controversial in the EV community. While most admit that quiet cars can be a problem at low-speeds, especially for the visually impaired, people also fear that adding a sound will remove an important benefit of electric vehicles.
While limiting pollution from fuel emissions is the main benefit of all-electric vehicles, EVs also limit noise pollution, especially in urban environments.
At higher speeds, tire noises are greater than engine noise and therefore, there’s not much of a difference between electric cars and gas-powered cars. But at lower speeds, EVs can be hard to hear coming.
While I don’t like the idea of increasing noise pollution, I get where they are coming from especially if I put myself in the shoes of visually impaired people.
That said, some modern gas-powered vehicles are also fairly quiet at low speed. I am not sure it’s worth singling out EVs in this case.
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