From July 1st, all electric cars will have to make artificial noises to protect pedestrians and cyclists. The cars can be as loud as gasoline engines. There is resistance to this.
There are many hopes associated with electromobility. At least one of them could turn out to be soon smashed: the hope of less street noise. From July 1, all electric cars in Switzerland and the EU must have an artificial noise generator, a so-called Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (A.you). The reason: electric cars are so quiet that at low speeds they pose a potential risk for cyclists and pedestrians. The System should therefore sound up to a speed of 20 kilometers per hour and then become quieter again, because the rolling noise of the tires becomes louder at higher speeds – that was the original intention.
There are, however, no regulations that prohibit the devices from artificially making noise even at speeds above 20 km / h. The maximum permitted level is 75 decibels and thus exactly as high as at Petrol and dieseldare. The automotive industry takes advantage of this leeway: It advertises with the perfect soundscape, which varies depending on the speed and driving style, supplemented with extras: “If the customer orders the optional sound package, a second, large loudspeaker comes in the rear,” writes a German car manufacturer on his website.
Nowhere is it prescribed what such a driving noise should sound like. In the automotive industry, they see “great potential for sound design” that not only draws attention to the car, but also to the brand. Futuristic noises reminiscent of a spaceship: nothing seems impossible.
The new rule is controversial – and will now also occupy the Federal Council. “It destroys the noise advantage of electric cars,” says Marionna Schlatter (Greens). The national councilor will on Wednesday submit an interpellation. The Federal Council must state whether it is ready to stop this “undesirable development”. And, if so, which statutory onesn He sees opportunities to prohibit the artificial background noise from Tempo 20.
“The new rule nullifies the noise advantage of electric cars.”
Marionna Schlatter, National Councilor for the Green Party
Schlatter argues with noise protection. More than a million people in Switzerland are significantly disturbed in their well-being by noise. This at least reduces their quality of life, but can also have worse consequences, such as sleep disorders or other damage to health.Even in the SVP, which is usually critical of regulations, the new rule arouses skepticism. At low speeds, an artificial noise makes perfect sense, says National Councilor Walter Wobmann. However, he still wants to examine in more detail whether the Bothrgrenze should ideally be at a speed of 20 or a little higher.
Use on the international stage
How the Federal Council assesses the cause remains to be seen. At least the leading authority at the federal government, the Federal Roads Office (Astra), has a clear stance: “We see the benefits and the safety gain of Ayou up to 20 kilometers per hour », says spokesman Thomas Rohrbach. Anything that goes beyond that, however, is decidedly rejected by the Astra, as Rohrbach makes clear.
The Astra has own information according to pronounced against the new rule in the competent specialist bodies of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, vresultant. But: “We are still active in reversing this decision – the approval of external loudspeakers”, says Rohrbach.
A broad alliance against overly noisy e-cars could well be formed in parliament. After the National Council in the spring session last week, the Council of States also reaffirmed its intention to take action against excessive noise in road traffic, for example against tuned cars.
Are the noise flashers coming?
The Federal Council must now explain which options it is considering. Some of the debates include noise speed cameras, the withdrawal of a driver’s license, the confiscation of cars and a general ban on driving particularly loud cars on certain routes. The decision war In the spirit of the Federal Council, which had requested that the corresponding motion be accepted.
Spoke in the debate last week Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga raised a point that can easily be transferred to the controversy surrounding noisy electric cars. Accordingly, dhe federal council focus on keeping the noise if possible at the source eto contain – not least for cost reasons. “We spend hundreds of millions of francs on noise abatement and noise protection in our country,” said Sommaruga. “This is now about avoidable excessive noise.”