New rules which came into force from 1 July dictate that all new fully electric vehicles (EVs) must be fitted with an audible warning device.
The Regulation on the Sound Level of Motor Vehicles has been introduced in response to concerns that EVs pose a risk to pedestrians at low speed.
New EVs with at least four wheels sold in the UK henceforth must now emit a sound when travelling at speeds under 12mph, or reversing.
An acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) will generate a noise similar to that made by conventional combustion engines.
The system can be deactivated when judged necessary by the driver.
The regulation will be extended to cover hybrid vehicles from July 2021.
Roads minister Michael Ellis said: “The government wants the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone, and understands the concerns of the visually impaired about the possible hazards posed by quiet electric vehicles.
“This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road.”
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