It’s not every day that you hear anyone complaining that trucks are too quiet.  Well, this seems to be the case for Volvo Trucks and their new range of electric vehicles.  In order to meet forthcoming UK legislation the company has had to develop some noises for their trucks.

The noise – 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 Electric Truck on road
Starting on 1 July 2021, all new electric vehicles in the UK will be required to emit a certain sound level when travelling at speeds below 12 mph

Starting on 1 July 2021, 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 set of sounds for its electric models.

“We truly welcome this new legislation. From when we were children, we have learnt to rely not only on what we see, but also what we hear in traffic – sometimes so much so that people don’t even look before crossing a street! With our new alert system, we want to help ensure that pedestrians and cyclists notice when they are close to our electric trucks,” explains Anna Wrige Berling, Traffic and Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.

Developed by acoustics experts

The range of sounds are the result of thorough research and testing by the Volvo Group’s own acoustics experts and will ensure the electric models are still much quieter than conventional trucks.

“We are particularly proud to have developed high quality, premium sounds that are noticeable enough to warn people close to the truck, and yet still pleasant for the driver and other road users,” says Wrige Berling. “The sounds are designed to not penetrate through walls. Our electric trucks will still allow for quiet night-time deliveries and contribute to better working conditions for the drivers and a quieter, cleaner environment.”

Four different sounds

The Volvo developed acoustic 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.

Volvo Electric Truck Sound
The sounds are designed to not penetrate through walls, to allow for quiet night time deliveries and contribute to better working conditions.

 Ramping up electric transport

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 Trucks now has an impressive line-up of two medium and three heavy-duty electric trucks for the European market. Plus, in North America, the VNR Electric is being offered. This is currently the most complete commercial electric truck range in the industry.

 “Electric trucks will be increasingly more common in traffic, and by adding the acoustic alert sound system to our electric vehicles, we are proud to be able to combine our exciting journey towards zero emissions with our longstanding zero accidents ambition,” adds Wrige Berling.

Click to listen to the noise