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Sound alerts coming for electric trucks in Australia


The trucking industry is a step closer to having sound alert systems compulsory for all electric trucks from November 2025.

Earlier this year, the federal Department of Infrastructure released a draft impact analysis evaluating the costs and benefits of adopting international regulations mandating Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) for hybrid, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The purpose of the signal is to alert vulnerable road users to the presence of a moving vehicle.

Under the proposed changes, vehicles must produce a minimum level of sound when moving at speeds of less than 20km/h.

This is because vehicles travelling faster than 20km/h are considered to produce sufficient road noise from tyres in motion. The frequency of the sound produced by AVAS is required to shift when the vehicle is accelerating or decelerating.

Although the final impact analysis has not yet been released, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia advises that the department has issued an exposure draft of the proposed ADR 113/00 and an explanatory statement and is seeking comment by Friday, December 22, 2023.

Release of these documents and collation of feedback now will expedite the ADR drafting process later, following the Department’s policy decision, the HVIA added.

All new electric vehicles in Europe have been required to emit a certain sound level when travelling at speeds below 20km/h since July 1, 2021.

The sound level required depends on the speed and gets higher as it increases. At the maximum speed of 20km/h it should be at least 56 decibels. If the vehicle is too quiet, an external 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 developed a unique set of premium sounds for its electric truck models.

“We truly welcome this new legislation,” said Anna Wrige Berling, Traffic and Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks at the time.

“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 we don´t even look before crossing a street.”

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