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Informal Consultation Document on the Intended CMVSS 141 – Minimum Noise Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Transport Canada
Under the authority of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act

BACKGROUND

A Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 141 – Minimum Noise Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles would aim to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, especially the visually impaired, by making sounds cyclists and pedestrians can hear and recognize. [1]

Both the United States and United Nations have adopted minimum noise requirements for HEVs. 

  • Under the United States, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 1411 (FMVSS 141), vehicles must produce a sound when stationary (when not in park), travelling up to 30 km/h, and in reverse. These vehicles must increase the sound they make by at least 3 dB(A) every time they increase their speed by 10 km/h, between 0 km/h and 30 km/h. This change in volume will allow a pedestrian to hear if a vehicle is speeding up or slowing down.
  • Under the United Nations Regulation 138 Series 01 amendments [2] (UN Reg. 138), the vehicles must produce a sound when travelling between 0 km/h and 20 km/h and in reverse. The sound these vehicles produce must also change in pitch, for at least one tone, by 0.8% with every 1 km/h increase of speed between 5 km/h to 20 km/h.  This change in pitch will allow a pedestrian to hear if a vehicle is speeding up or slowing down.

Canada’s regulations would incorporate FMVSS 141 and UN Reg. 138 by ambulatory reference, as equal alternatives. While the two standards are not the same, they both give pedestrians cues they can hear, so they know there is a vehicle operating nearby. 

Companies would have to show they comply to either standard, for all HEV passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger cars, trucks, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4 536 kg or less. 

Transport Canada is proposing to allow companies to install noise systems meeting either the United States or United Nations technical requirements.  Giving companies the choice provides benefit to the visually impaired, at minimal cost.

INTENDED COMING INTO FORCE

This is an informal consultation process before publishing any potential regulatory proposal in the Canada Gazette Part I.  If this regulation proceeds, it would come into force on September 1, 201X a minimum of 1 year after appearing in the Canada Gazette, Part 2. 

All HEV passenger and multi-purpose passenger cars, trucks, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a  gross vehicle weight rating of 4 536 kg or less manufactured on or after this date, would have to comply with the technical requirements for a low speed noise making system.


[1] U.S. Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2016 / Rules and Regulations, page 90416 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/14/2016-28804/federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-minimum-sound-requirements-for-hybrid-and-electric-vehicles

[2] E / ECE / 324 / Rev. 2 / Add. 137 – E / ECE / TRANS / 505 Rev. 2 / Add. 137 / October 24, 2016 / Regulation No. 138 https://www.unece.org/trans/main/wp29/wp29regs121-140.html