fm conway electric vans

Construction firm FM Conway has installed technology to its electric vans to ensure they are audible when operating on noisy building sites.

The company began renting two Nissan e-NV200 plug-in electric vans last November as part of a wider £7m sustainable fleet strategy initiated ahead of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone start last month.

They are being used in the London boroughs of Croydon, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham to support FM Conway’s highways maintenance contracts with the councils.

However due to their near-silent running, FM Conway found that workmen on busy construction sites struggled to hear the vehicles approaching, creating a safety concern.

To address this FM Conway installed the Quiet Vehicle Sounder (QVS), produced by safety equipment manufacturer Brigade Electronics.

It works by producing a distinctive sound that can be heard clearly in danger zones, but less so in other situations.

The sound is highly directional, enabling a pedestrian to tell where the vehicle is, and it varies in pitch and tone as the vehicle speeds up or slows down.

A mix of frequencies ensures the QVS makes the vehicle instantly detectable and locatable.

Read more:

Pat Murphy, reactive supervisor at Conway, said: “Before retrofitting the Quiet Vehicle Sounder it was stressful driving on to site not knowing if people would hear you. It was nearly impossible, especially in the morning when we were all arriving to work.

"Now the QVS makes sure everyone knows you’re there. It’s a made a world of difference.”

The QVS turns off at 20mph so noise disturbances are kept to a minimum when road noise generates enough sound that the vehicles can be heard, but will still emit a blend of Brigade’s white noise frequencies and tonal sounds.

Conway said it also chose the QVS because of its durability in harsh conditions, which was essential with the dust and sand associated with building sites.

The company will fit the QVS to any new electric vehicles joining its fleet.