Friendly Sound to Warn Pedestrians


Now Implemented!


Offer a way to alert pedestrians of your quiet car nearby.


I think most drivers of electric vehicles agree that we do not want any artificial sounds permanently emitted from our vehicles to make up for the “missing” engine rumble. At the same time, there is consensus that electric vehicles, while still far and few in between, are particularly dangerous for that very reason: Pedestrians and cyclists usually do not hear us coming and presume that where there is no noise, there is no car.

Honking the normal horn is not a good option, since it’s way too loud and thus can inappropriately scare pedestrians and cyclists, giving us EV drivers an inadvertently aggressive appearance. A simple and adequate solution has been discussed for a long time now, and I hope that Tesla will implement it in their vehicles soon: An additional, smaller, less aggressive, manually operated horn specifically to warn pedestrians and cyclists.

The Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera has this feature, and it has proven very useful.


As of late 2020 builds, Teslas now have the mandated low-speed external noisemaker, which serves the same purpose without needed a muted horn function.


(voting combined from a close duplicate that has been removed)

lightly edited by moderator
Category: CY3XS Applies to:
     Created 29-Apr-2013


I too had the Volt and used the lower volume horn.  It was melodic if I remember correctly and did not inspire anger or startle the intended person you were trying to warn.
    Created 3-Aug-2018
I walk a dog and ride a bike daily in one of the most Tesla-filled neighborhoods in the country, and I don't notice ANY difference between a Tesla (or i3, or Leaf, etc) and the usual ICE car overtaking me. The tire noise predominates; you simply don't hear "engine rumble" except when a Boy Racer goes by (yuck). Deliberately making noise, like the abominable truck-backing-up-beepers, should be avoided with every fiber of our being.

That said, a gentler pedestrian-friendly low horn would be welcome on every vehicle. A gentle tap on the horn button for low, higher pressure for a loud warning would come naturally.
    Created 2-Nov-2017
An external speaker that relays a spoken message would be be great, eg "Excuse me". On my bike I can go from a quiet tinkling bell sound through a more strident "bring-bring" to a serious "OI!" if the pedestrian is in imminent danger.
    Created 9-Aug-2017
An external speaker that relays a spoken message would be be great, eg "Excuse me".
    Created 9-Aug-2017
The sound of a snorting horse would be fun.
    Created 5-May-2017
As a workaround, why not just put a cheap radio controlled door bell in the frunk and the trigger button underneath the driver seat. There you have it and it can get even funny if you choose one of those "MP3 door bells" where you can record any own sound:
    Created 3-Apr-2017
I like the idea of a muted sound when activated by the driver. But I despise a constant sound that emits when under a given speed. I think some ICE vehicles are as quiet as EV's at low speed.
    Created 4-Oct-2016
I would encourage this feature; courtesy to overtaken bicycle riders to alert them and avoid their turning into the traffic lane; not sure how to select and implement it without another mechanical button, which would complicate retrofit.
    Created 9-Aug-2016
Need this. I followed a group of girls walking in the parking lot at the Brea Mall for several minutes before finally rolling down the window and yelling "Excuse me!" and they still didn't move out of the way.
    Created 1-Aug-2016
A driver-controlled external noise source (fans/blowers) would be useful to warn pedestrians. The horn is a loud warning of an imminent danger, I'd like something less brutal.

Certainly not automatic - when I leave home very early (4:00 AM to 6:00 AM) - my neighborhood is very quiet and driving a silent EV is a blessing.

    Created 30-May-2016
Sorry but this is NOT stupid. Watch! will not apply for BLIND people. Their association is strongly demanding a noise for alle electric cars up to 40 km/h
    Created 30-Jan-2016
We don't need cars making even more noise, what we need is to keep all the idiots that walk out into the road without looking inside where they can't dent my car.
    Created 26-Dec-2015
As noted by many this is a stupid idea.  Pedestrians must expect silent cars or bicycles sinc by now even ICE cars can be rather silent, and car drivers must expect anything from pedestrians since some of them may be kids or drunken adults.

    Created 2-Dec-2015
It would be nice to hit a button that gives a little chirp.  I was literally five feet behind somebody walking down my country road and they had no idea I was there.  Happened twice in 2 days.  I would not want a constant sound, as that would be highly annoying.
    Created 15-Apr-2015
The law may apply to all cars in the context of car parks where fuel makes  no difference all cars a too quiet... Number of pedestrians dying in car parks is a surprise. 2 in my local Waitrose!
    Created 8-Apr-2015
Ditto with other Volt owners -- I use our little muted horn a lot -- I doesn't scare the peds.
    Created 31-Mar-2015
While a Ferrari or Lamborghini rumble might be cool, the idea of a quiet car being made un-quiet bothers me.

Besides, I ride a bike daily in Los Angeles traffic and a Tesla makes pretty much the same sound passing by as most ICE cars: tire noise.

They just don't smell bad.
    Created 4-Mar-2015
I want it to sound like the Radiator Springs ride at Disneyland, low rumble high HP racing machine
    Created 6-Dec-2014
My 1960s era Citroen had two horns: the discrete city horn and the raucous country horn. A light press on the button invoked the town horn and a firmer press on the same button blasted out the country horn. Worked like a champ.
    Created 5-Dec-2014
Waououou!  What a violent reaction to such a petty subject. .. I sure wouldn't like too much to be on your path when you drive your car.  This is an option and everybody should have the possibility to use or not use this add-on feature. I don't care about the car being hurt, i just don't want to hurt anybody on foot or on a bicycle. You probably never heard the story about the egg meeting the bowling ball. by the time you figure out how to inform through the window, the door, the roof or even the windshield the person unaware of your presence, I trust you will find a way to call 911 with smoke signals or the trumpet you keep in your trunk.

whatever your opinion, and I respect it, let's keep our sense of measure on the road as well as on this forum. It might just keep us in a slightly more civilized environnment.
    Created 2-Dec-2014