Jaguar I-Pace was released earlier this year and was heavily praised for its general build quality, drivability, and generous range.
It puts the pressure on Tesla as a credible rival to the Model X while also debuting before German carmakers such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes give it an extra edge.
Now, a new technology feature that has been revealed by the car firm could help protect the lives of vulnerable members of society, by solving one safety concern people had with EVs.
One of the virtues of an electric car is its silent powertrain. For the driver and passengers, this is an extremely pleasant thing to experience but it can be a danger for pedestrians.
To combat this, the carmaker has designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its debut electric car which comes a year before the global legislation comes into place.
The new legislation will require all electric cars to produce a noise at low speeds to make pedestrians aware of their presence.
A new round has been developed by Jaguar engineers which can be heard up to speeds of 20 km/h, which exceeds the 56dB(A) minimum required by forthcoming European legislation.
Jaguar tested the new sound with members of Guide Dogs for the blind, which is the UK’s leading charity for people who are affected by sight loss.
Iain Suffield, Jaguar NVH Technical Specialist, said: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired.
“This is especially true at low speeds in town centres and car parks.
“We developed the Audible Vehicle Alert System for the I-PACE to ensure the safety of all road users.
“Our potentially life-saving technology cannot be switched off and as the leading charity for people with sight loss, we are pleased to have the support of Guide Dogs to ensure real people are at the heart of our product testing.”
The engineers worked for four years to develop a sound that is audible to pedestrians yet discreet enough that people inside the car will not be able to hear it.
A number of versions and iteration of the sound have been tested including a noise inspired by the sound of sci-fi spacecraft, which was shelved as it caused pedestrians to look up instead of at the road.
The sound is emitted from a speaker located behind the front grille, can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged.
Much like the way sound from an engine increases as the vehicle accelerates, the pitch and the volume of the noise increases as the vehicle picks up speed.
John Welsman, Policy Business Partner (Travel & Mobility), Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “There are two million children and adults living in the UK affected by sight loss.
“That is why Guide Dogs campaigned hard to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built in and turned on, including when the vehicle is stationary at a pedestrian crossing.
“We applaud Jaguar for being the first to launch an EV which meets standards before the new legislation even comes in and look forward to working with the company more in the future.”
The electric car launched earlier this year and it is powered by a 90kWh lithium-ion battery which produces a range of up to 292 miles (WLTP).
It is also fast off the line and can sprint from 0-62 mph in just 4.5 seconds and costs from £58,995 (including government incentives).
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