The software update 2020.48.26, which was released around Christmas, brought among other things the new boombox function for Tesla owners in the USA. This makes it possible to play the supplied sound files or your own sound files outside the vehicle, i.e. for the surroundings. Looking at Europe, however, it quickly became apparent that the new Teslas still lacked the necessary external speakers. CEO Elon Musk suggested a retrofit option. But in Germany, the individual sound reinforcement in the surroundings is hardly ever used.
No speaker in Model 3 from China
After the update, curious Facebook and Youtube users went to search for loudspeakers and checked the suspected installation location as well as the installation location specified in the Tesla parts catalog. They removed the covers for it directly in front of the wheel on the passenger side in the area of the wheel arch.
The result: Among other things, there was no loudspeaker to be found on a current Tesla Model 3 from China. However, you can see cables and a plug that are presumably used to connect a loudspeaker. In the USA, it has been installed in Teslas since autumn 2019, as is required there for pedestrian warnings at low speeds. Electric cars for Europe apparently have the wiring, but not the loudspeaker itself. As CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter, an offer for retrofitting is being examined by the Tesla service.
For Germany, however, the question arises whether it would make sense at all. With the boombox function, you can either select different sounds for the pedestrian warning (including the Darmwind sounds of the Emissions Testing Mode, which Tesla now calls the “exhaust scandal” in Germany) or play it yourself. On the other hand, the horn can be assigned with it. But both are strictly regulated in this country.
How a horn should sound is stated in Section 55 (2) of the Road Traffic Regulations: “Horns and horns may be installed as devices for acoustic signals that produce a sound with constant basic frequencies (including harmonic chords) that is free from background noise.” No melodies may be used as a horn sound and the human exhaust noises supplied by Tesla should also fail.
Does Tesla have a good AVAS offer?
If the boombox function is used for pedestrian warning (AVAS, short for Acoustic Vehicle Alerting), restrictions also apply. According to EU regulation 540/2014, an electric car AVAS may not emit abstract noises such as natural sounds, birds chirping or the like, but must be comparable to the noise of a classic combustion engine. In addition, an AVAS must make driving behavior recognizable, e.g. acceleration.
Regulations like these basically mean a ban on the boombox in Germany, at least in public spaces. But only actually: it should be allowed when stationary, because the AVAS regulations only apply to moving cars.
In general, the retrofitting of AVAS systems in Germany is supported by the state. As with the environmental bonus for electric cars, Bafa is responsible for applications and payments. The AVAS funding rate is 100 euros. If Tesla makes a good offer for the loudspeaker, retrofitting it could be more worthwhile.