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University of Birmingham protects students with electric safety device

The University of Birmingham has fitted its fleet of electric vehicles with life-saving sound devices.

The environment has always been a priority for the university – it generates 75% of its own energy and has met the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% four years early.

It is the first university fleet in the United Kingdom to go electric and 40% of their fleet is now sustainable.

However, switching to electric vehicles has not come without issues. The very nature of electric vehicles means they are extremely quiet at slow speeds which often leads to accidents with vulnerable road users who do not hear a vehicle approaching.

The University of Birmingham needed a solution to ensure their electric vehicles could be heard by its 35,000 students.

Spending time between lectures and often distracted by their phones, the students were not paying attention to the many paths and roads around the university where the electric fleet operates.

Brigade Electronics was asked to help solve this quiet vehicle issue after being introduced as vehicle safety experts by a mutual supplier.

Brigade’s Quiet Vehicle Sounder (QVS), a device designed to warn vulnerable road users of an approaching electric/hybrid vehicle, was the perfect solution.

Chris Lane, Operations Manager at the university, said:

“The QVS provides absolute peace of mind to our drivers.

“Driving a quiet vehicle in high foot traffic areas can be very stressful, especially with the sheer number of students we have walking or cycling through our campus.

“The QVS eliminates that worry and ultimately keeps everybody safe. We will be

making sure all new electric vehicles joining our fleet are fitted with a Quiet Vehicle Sounder, there’s no questioning why you would not have one installed.”

The University of Birmingham’s commitment to the environment has won it plaudits such as “Sustainable Fleet” at the Green Fleet Awards and “The Green Apple” in 2016.

With the QVS the university can continue to endorse electric vehicles while keeping vulnerable road users and the fleet safe.

New legislation which came into force this month will require the mandatory fitment of Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS), for all new quiet (electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell) vehicle models registered after 1st September 2019 and all new vehicle registrations after 1st September 2021.

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