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Ottawa proposing regulations to make electric vehicles louder


April 28, 2021
By Rock to Road Staff

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Tesla CybertruckTesla's Cybertruck on the road. Photo: Tesla Canada

Electric vehicles are quiet — maybe even a little too quiet, something that the federal government says can pose a safety risk.

As a result, Ottawa announced plans to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to mandate that all hybrid and electric vehicles produce a minimum level of noise.

At low speeds, these vehicles produce virtually no sound.

That can make their presence on roads hard to detect, leading to increased risks for workers, pedestrians, cyclists and more.

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While many automakers have already voluntarily added sound emitters to hybrid and electric vehicles, Transport Canada’s new proposed regulation would make it the law and would outline specific standards.

Under the proposed regulations, all hybrid and electric vehicles would be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (sound emitters) which produce noise 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.

These regulations would make sure all hybrid and electric vehicles sold in Canada will be equipped with sound emitters by 2023.

Quick facts

  • The department held consultations and numerous submissions were received and considered when drafting these proposed regulations.
  • All hybrid and electric 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 be required to comply with the proposed minimum noise regulations.
  • Transport Canada’s proposed noise requirements align with United States and international standards to offer flexibility to vehicle manufacturers, while also maximizing safety for Canadians.