Recent reports from the Tesla community are suggesting that the electric car maker has started rolling out a pedestrian noisemaker for the Model 3 sedan. The noisemakers, which are designed to emit a sound while vehicles are moving below 19 mph in forward and reverse, have reportedly been installed on Model 3 units that were built since September 1, 2019.
The update was shared by Trevor of the Tesla Owners Online group, who was recently informed by a Model S owner and Tesla technician about the recent changes to the Model 3. In a message to Teslarati, Trevor remarked that the updates were related in an email to Tesla employees, which also included two sound bites featuring the Model 3’s forward and reverse sounds.
As could be heard in the samples reportedly shared in the Tesla email, the Model 3’s forward sound appears to be mostly white noise. In comparison, the Model 3’s reverse sound features a more sci-fi vibe reminiscent of the Porsche Taycan’s low, futuristic whine. The Tesla technician also remarked that so far, only Model 3 units built since September 1 are being equipped with the pedestrian noisemaker, though it is likely that the component will be fitted on the Model S and Model X in the near future as well. This should allow Tesla to equip its entire fleet with the noisemakers before the NHTSA’s mandate on the feature takes effect next year.
The rollout of Tesla’s pedestrian noisemaker for its vehicles was teased earlier this year after a speaker grille was discovered by owner-enthusiast Erik Strait on the undercarriage of his Model 3. The grille cutout, which appeared to be a speaker, was not present in Tesla’s official parts catalog then, though Strait noted then that a Model S diagram a few years back also had a layout that included a pedestrian noisemaker labeled as “Speaker Pedestrian Noise.”
The NHTSA’s mandate comes as the result of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, which states that electric vehicles must have an audible sound at speeds below 19 mph to warn pedestrians of their presence. The implementation of the law was finalized in February last year, and it gives EV makers until September 1, 2020, to be fully compliant with the mandate’s requirements.
It’s not just the United States that is requiring electric cars to have an audible sound. Earlier this year, a new EU rule which required electric car makers to give their vehicles an audible sound at low speeds also took effect. Similar to the NHTSA’s mandate, the EU rule was implemented as a response to concerns that EVs were simply too quiet for the roads, making them a potential safety hazard to pedestrians such as visually-impaired individuals, who rely on sounds to detect the presence of vehicles on the road.
Listen to the Tesla Model 3’s forward sound in the clip below.
And here’s the Tesla Model 3’s reverse sound.