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Safety Fears As Electric Vans Hit The Streets

Safety Fears As Electric Vans Hit The Streets

There’s an old saying; ‘silence is golden’. Indeed, it was also the name of a popular song by The Tremeloes. It’s a phrase often quoted to quieten noisy children when they’re getting a little raucous.

In most cases, it’s true. A period of silence is always welcome when we want to relax, reflect on the issues of the day or just get a bit of kip. In our increasingly noisy world, most of us would certainly like a little more silence in our day.

And while that all seems very desirable, there are times when silence is anything but golden. In fact, in some cases, a lack of noise could be deadly. The increased use of noiseless electric vans is a case in point.

Stop, Look And Listen?

Electric vehicles have become increasingly popular. With their eco-credentials and CAZ friendly benefits, they have become an essential investment for many delivery organisations. The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders recently reported that new registrations of electric vans rose by nearly 21% in 2018 with further growth predicted across all sectors.

The issue, however, is the potential danger electric vans pose to pedestrians, particularly to the elderly, to children and to disabled people. Most electric vehicles are silent up to 20 mph and with no engine noise, there are fewer indications to signal danger to pedestrians.

As Nick Simmons, CEO of road safety charity Roadpeace commented:

“The influx of electric and hybrid vehicles presents a new silent hazard on to our roads of which the majority of our members will not be aware, therefore being a significant risk to vulnerable road users. Added to this, the fact that the majority of these vehicles are working in urban environments further heightens the risk.’

The issue has been recognised, and legislation is now in place that ensures from July 2019 electric vans are fitted with Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) that emit a sound indicating an electric van’s presence. However, there are no current requirements to upgrade the many electric vans currently in use.

Artificial Sounds

There are commercial solutions available that users can retrofit to existing electric vans. Brigade Electronics has developed an aftermarket ‘Quiet Vehicle Sounder’ This device emits a distinctive sound that can be heard clearly in urban danger zones but is discrete in other environments.

Brigade CEO Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE said:

“The Quiet Vehicle Sounder is a revolution in automotive safety and one which will save lives and spare people from being injured in needless accidents.”

There Is Another Way

The move to electric vans will certainly improve air quality and reduce emissions. This is a good thing, but it is not the only solution. The creative use of hybrid technologies like Truckcraft’s new TRAILAR solar-enabled vans offer not only environmental benefits and improved fuel efficiency they don’t have the same safety drawbacks as electric vans.

We believe that the use of Truckcraft’s advanced vehicles in more hazardous urban settings can offer delivery companies good eco-benefits while lessening the negative PR that results from accidents caused by electric vans.

That’s why, as part of a mixed capability fleet, Truckcraft’s solar-enabled vehicles make a great deal of sense.

For more information on our safer, urban-friendly delivery trucks and vans, please contact the Truckcraft Bodies sales team on 0161 304 9404. Alternatively, email or

Published: Jul 10

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