Some people hate motorcycles. One of the most common objections to motorcycles is a loud exhaust. In some cases, they have a point. There are those of us that modify their machines to have an exhaust note that is loud and some would say obnoxious.
But with the growth of electric vehicles, the exhaust note is not a problem. It’s actually just the opposite. Electric vehicles and electric motorcycles have been accused of being too quiet.
New sound regulations
Governments all over the world over are taking steps to make electric vehicles louder. They believe pedestrians, cyclists and blind people must be are warned. In fact, the European Union has issued a new directive requiring all new electric and hybrid vehicles to sound a warning when traveling under 12 MPH.
The EU is not alone in drafting such requirements. The USA’s National Highway Safety Administration has developed a similar requirement for hybrid and electric vehicles. The USA will also require all hybrid and electric vehicles to emit a sound when traveling under 18.6 MPH. This requirement will be in place before the EU’s regulation and will be required by September 2020.
Electric motorcycles are not exempt
Harley’s LiveWire will emit a sound that they claim emulates a “real” Harley. Apparently, Harley-Davidson’s (Harley) LiveWire is already compliant. There have been several reveals of the LiveWire at speed (see below), but little in the line of the sound it will make at low speed.
Online outlet Mashable says that LiveWire posted this sound bite of the Livewire in an article about mandatory sound for electric vehicles.
Reportedly, a waterproof speaker will broadcast the sound when the bike speed is under the applicable regulation’s stated speed. Mechanical and wind noise from higher speeds are deemed sufficient to alert those who the regulations are designed to protect.
The sound each vehicle projects is up to manufacturers. It will be interesting to hear the sound each manufacturer comes up with to meet these regulations in the future.