EU Updates Requirements on Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS)
Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) are sound generating devices, fitted to pure electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles capable of operating without their internal combustion engine running, which emit sound whenever the vehicle is operating at low speeds, to warn pedestrians and other vulnerable road users of the vehicle's presence.
In 2014, when the European Commission were drafting their new Regulation on the sound levels produced by motor vehicles, EU Regulation No. 540/2014, they were keen to include requirements on AVAS in this Regulation. However, at that time, work on developing a new United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Regulation on AVAS was still ongoing. Therefore, only basic requirements on AVAS were included into EU Regulation No. 540/2014 along with a commitment to include more detailed requirements once the UN ECE had concluded their work.
Now that the new UN ECE Regulation on AVAS, which is actually titled "Quiet Road Transport Vehicles (QRTV) with regard to their Reduced Audibility" has been finalised and published as ECE Regulation No. 138, an amendment to EU Regulation No. 540/2014 has been published to align its requirements on AVAS, with those contained in ECE 138. The amendments to (EU) No. 540/2014 are contained in EU Regulation No. 2017/1576, which was published on 19th September 2017.
EU Regulation No. 2017/1576 introduces a new set of requirements on AVAS that are aligned with the requirements of ECE 138 and, in many instances, specifically reference ECE 138. (Note: As these new requirements are aligned with those of ECE 138.00, the fitment of a "pause function" which enables the driver to temporarily disable the operation of the AVAS is permitted.)
Compliance with the new requirements on AVAS becomes mandatory from 1st July 2019 for new types of pure electric vehicle and new types of hybrid electric vehicle that are capable of operating without their internal combustion engine running, and from 1st July 2021 for all new vehicles of such types. Any vehicles voluntarily equipped with an AVAS ahead of these dates must comply with either the new AVAS requirements introduced by (EU) No. 2017/1576 or the "basic" AVAS requirements that were already specified in (EU) No. 540/2014, at the vehicle manufacturer's choice.