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Volvo adds acoustic alert sounds to its electric trucks

To improve safety, Volvo Trucks has developed an acoustic alert system with unique sounds for its electric truck models.

The alert – designed to be “pleasant and unobtrusive”, both for the driver and others close by – will increase safety by making pedestrians, cyclists and other road users aware of approaching trucks, which would otherwise be nearly silent.

Volvo says the sounds are designed to not penetrate through walls and allow for quiet nighttime deliveries.

Starting on July 1 this year, all new electric vehicles in the UK will be required to emit a certain sound level when travelling at speeds below 12 mph. The sound level required depends on the speed and gets higher as it increases. At 12 mph it should be at least 56 decibels. If the vehicle is too quiet, an external acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) must be added.

To meet the new requirements, and at the same time maintain the benefits of lower noise levels that come with electric vehicles, Volvo Trucks has developed a unique set of premium sounds for its electric models.

Developed by Volvo Group’s own acoustics experts, the alert system for electric vehicles is made up of four different sounds, informing people close by about what the truck is doing: moving forward, idling, reversing, etc. The sounds will vary in intensity, based on truck speed and will shift in frequency during acceleration and deceleration.

With the recently announced start of sales of three new heavy-duty electric truck models – the Volvo FH, FM and FMX – alongside the existing Volvo FE and FL electric models, Volvo’s line-up includes two medium and three heavy-duty electric trucks for the European market. Plus, in North America, the VNR Electric is being offered.