Noisy EV helps tackle pedestrian safety issues

Researchers at Warwick University are using a green van called ELVIN as part of a research project aimed at tackling the safety issues linked to the lack of sound from electric vehicles (EVs).

ELVIN − which stands for Electric Vehicle with Interactive Noise − will be able to emit many different sounds aimed at alerting pedestrians and other road users that it is nearby.

Prof Paul Jennings from the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at Warwick University said: ’Electric Vehicles are very quiet, which makes them a potential low-speed safety risk to pedestrians. Sound not only alerts people to the presence and direction of a vehicle, it also indicates the type of vehicle − for instance a bus − and whether it is stopping or accelerating.’

WMG researchers are carrying out their investigations with vehicle sound engineers at Novisim in Hertfordshire and the Danish company EC Tunes.

ELVIN has already been fitted with Novisim’s sound system and trials are now being run using the system to gain direct experience of its use and the reactions of drivers, and − most importantly − other road users and people who experience the sounds it emits.

People who hear the sounds will be asked to give their opinions on a range of issues, including whether they are suitable as a warning or whether they are simply annoying.

Britain is fast becoming a world centre for electric car development, as a trip to the Low Carbon Vehicle Event at Millbrook Proving Ground showed. Click here to read more.