AVAS Explained

Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System Explained

Switching to an EV means learning lots of new terminology as you try to identify what features your new car offers.

Some features you will have never come across before, for example, AVAS. An Acoustic Vehicle Alert System is an important part of helping to keep pedestrians safe as we transition to a future where electric cars dominate the road. Learn more about these intriguing safety systems and how they work on your lease vehicle below.

What exactly is AVAS?

AVAS stands for Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which can be explained most simply as ‘making a car noise’ (though it’s more complicated and varied than that).

The first time any of us have encountered a full electric car or a hybrid in electric mode, we’ll have been shocked by the almost eerie quiet as it started to move, because there’s no engine to roar into life.

In many ways this should be a bonus, cutting down on noise pollution as well as air pollution, but there are also safety concerns around having cars that glide almost silently down the road.

With a fossil fuel-driven car, you can hear one coming down the road towards you, hence the instruction to ‘stop, look and listen’.

But an electric car that doesn’t make a noise can come as a surprise if you aren’t paying attention and, more particularly, to vision impaired pedestrians who have always been able to rely on hearing cars coming.

Safety has to come first, so new rules have come into effect around the noises that EVs make - or rather don’t make.

AVAS in practice

On 1st July 2019, the EU introduced the Regulation on the Sound Level of Motor Vehicles, which dictates that any private or commercial hybrid or EV must have an acoustic vehicle alert system working at up to just over 12mph.

Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems vary in how they operate and the sounds that they create. They range from the aforementioned sound that mimics an engine to intermittent chirps to customisable warning sounds, with speakers at the front and rear of the EV as well as in the cabin itself to offer that traditional driving sound for the driver too.

Most of these systems automatically switch off when the car goes above the required speed of 12mph, with the noises made by EVs at higher speeds considered loud enough on their own.

The systems vary from brand to brand, as do the sounds, with the likes of Audi going to great lengths to get theirs right.

So, when it comes to choosing your next EV, will you be factoring what noises you want it to make, alongside how it looks, how it drives, how quickly it charges, and all the other factors that are crucial.


You can find a variety of vehicles available for personal lease and equipped with AVAS on our electric car page - from BMW SUVs to affordable electric hatchbacks. Not sure if leasing an EV is right for you? Check out our guides on electric vehicles to find out the benefits going all-electric provides.


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