From now on, all electric cars sold in Europe must emit an artificial noise, or enforce an AVAS. This is irrespective of whether they are electric or hybrid vehicles. Furthermore, already in circulation cars must have an AVAS by 2021.
Obviously, the need arises from safety problems, because the greater (or, in some instances, complete) silence of newly designed electric vehicles may not necessarily be a favorable factor: EVs may be hazardous if not heard in time under certain conditions (think of a blind individual crossing the street). The new directive can enable vehicle companies to experiment with unique sounds for their electric vehicles, although the EU states that the sound generated by an inner combustion motor should be as comparable as possible.
Especially when they move less than 20 km / h and when they go backwards, electric vehicles will have to create a noise. Some car manufacturers are already moving in this direction: for instance, Jaguar has published an illustration of the artificial noise that will emit its full-electric I-Pace SUVs.
At the moment of the release of the i8, BMW had already considered a comparable solution, given that a fake engine noise was transmitted inside the passenger compartment so that clients would not be disappointed by the silence of their fresh 374 hp engine.
Nissan had addressed the issue in a slightly distinct manner with a concept car presented at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. The IMx, in fact, was equipped with a technology called Canto, which modulated a similar sound to that emitted by Formula E cars in the circumstances where the vehicle was running at low speeds.
The US Congress is also preparing to pass a law comparable to the one in force in the EU at the moment.