WATCH OUT! THERE’S AN EV COMING
THERE IS NO DOUBT electric vehicles cut down the annoying hum of traffic, which is a good thing. The downside is, if we can’t hear a car coming, we are in a vulnerable position.
Jaguar has designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its first EV that meets and exceeds all forthcoming global legislation. The carmaker’s engineers have developed a sound that can be heard at speeds up to 20km/h and exceeds the 56dB(A) minimum required by forthcoming European legislation – the strictest in the world – for all new EVs from July 2019.
The I-PACE’s sound was tested by members of Guide Dogs for the Blind, the UK’s leading charity for people affected by sight loss, as part of the testing undertaken by Jaguar.
It took the engineers four years to develop a soundtrack that is audible yet discreet and cannot be heard from inside the vehicle. Initial attempts to create a noise inspired by the sound of sci-fi spacecraft had to be shelved after pedestrians reacted by looking up to the sky, rather than at the road, as the vehicle approached.
Engineers tested sounds in a number of environments, including an anechoic chamber (specialist echo-free room) and various urban scenarios, before settling on the final sound for the I-PACE. It is emitted from a speaker located behind the front grille, can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged.
The alert increases in pitch and volume in line with the speed of the vehicle and, when in reverse, is accompanied by an additional tone that indicates the change in direction. AVAS is not required at higher speeds as there is sufficient wind and tyre noise for pedestrians to hear the zero-emissions vehicle approaching.
John Welsman, Policy Business Partner ( Travel & Mobility), Guide Dogs for the Blind, said the organisation had campaigned hard to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built in and turned on, including when the vehicle is stationary at a pedestrian crossing. Jaguar unveiled the I-PACE, its first all- electric vehicle, earlier this year to deliver sustainable sports car performance, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology and five-seat SUV practicality.
Fitted with a state- of-the-art 90kWh lithiumion battery, two Jaguar- designed motors and a bespoke aluminium structure, the I-PACE is capable of 0- 62mph in 4.5 seconds and a range of up to 292 miles.