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Electric Vehicles Forced By New Law To Make Noise

Electric Vehicles Forced By New Law To Make Noise post image

Electric vehicles are quiet, very quiet; too quiet. They certainly don’t make anywhere near as much noise as the combustion engines we are all more used to. This could become a significant problem as the number of electric vehicles around the world grows. Why? Because pedestrians, children, the vision-impaired, and other people need vehicles to make sound for safety reasons.

In the United Sates, President Obama has now signed the Pedestrian Safely Enhancement Act of 2010. The legislation was introduced by Sen. John Kerry. This new act will require hybrids and electric vehicles to produce sound to alert people of their presence. It will, however, take quite some time for this new act to come into force. A motor vehicle safety standard that provides for a means of alerting vision–impaired people has first to be established. It could take a few years before the new law is actually seen, or rather heard, on the streets.

It’ll be interesting to see what is determined to be the minimum level of sound necessary to be emitted from vehicles, and just what those sounds end up being.

Considering the dizzying array of phone ringtones around, and the fact that electric cars are going to have a big capacity for add-on software applications, the mind boggles as to what people might come up with if free reign is given to what the sounds are allowed to be. Can you imagine the possible cacophony while waiting at traffic lights in heavy traffic? Hopefully sense will prevail there.

It should be noted that at the moment, the Nissan Leaf electric car automatically alerts pedestrians when the car is traveling at low speeds. General Motors Co’s Cheverolet Volt has a chirping sound the driver can activate.

via inhabitat
(All-electric) Tesla Roaster image CC licensed by jurvetson

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  • SteveWillis

    Perhaps some sort of subfrequency type tech so one ‘feels’ it more than ‘hears’ it. Seems ridiculous tho, a car that doesn’t pollute, required to pollute in order to be regarded safe

  • http://www.the9billion.com jjprojects

    Good vibrations? I like it. Yeah, it could be a noise pollution disaster if it’s not implemented well.

  • http://twitter.com/OzAz Adrian

    Having driven one of those hybrid cars I can see a point in electric vehicles making a noise. Even for the driver, it’s weird when your car is making virtually no sound when moving at slow speed.

    Though I’m with you on the implications of allowing any sound. Crazy Frog anyone? GAH!

  • http://www.the9billion.com jjprojects

    Aghh, stop; that kind of thing would be awful! And, yes, I must admit I’ve been caught out once with a Prius sneaking up on me a a low speed beside a curb.

  • Volt Owner

    I want all EV’s and ICE cars to be mandated to sound exactly like a Harley with open pipes! Seriously, there are ICE cars as quiet/quieter than EV’s, why did they not get included in this TRAP law?

    My Volt already has the perfect solution, it’s just a driver activated quiet mode on the horn, sort of a chirp called “Pedestrian Alert”. Works perfectly when/where needed, no law required.

    What I find weird is the noise and vibration of a car that has a gas engine! Always idling, always wasting fuel, not using the energy from the brakes during the next acceleration, just dumping it into the atmosphere as waste heat.

  • Volt Owner

    Situational Awareness. You must not have “looked both ways”, eh? I find I am more aware of how pedestrians behave (or not) since getting an EV. Same thing with bicycles too. As in, riding one gives you insight into how little people pay attention to what is going on around them. Should we require bicycle bells to sound continuously when ever the bike is traveling less than 18 MPH? Might save some embarrassment beside a few curbs…

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Good points, although quite a few new non-hybrid cars are starting to use start/stop technology now to improve fuel economy.