Thursday, 31 January 2013

electric cars must make noise

The US Department for Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a proposal for a “minimum sound standard” for hybrid and electric vehicles.

According to the NHTSA’s figures, the introduction of such a regulation would help prevent as many as 2,800 injuries to pedestrians and cyclists every year.

The sound standard would be applied to all hybrid and electric cars that are able to operate without the assistance of a noisy internal combustion engine at low speeds – whether that be all the time or just occasionally – and mandated up to 18mph.

Beyond 18mph there’s enough noise generated by wind resistance and the passage of the tyres over the road surface to make the approach of a vehicle apparent to anyone who might otherwise be unexpectedly injured by it.

The sound wouldn’t have to be the same as a regular car – and in fact carmakers will be able to offer consumers a choice – but it must be recognisably distinctive and there would be minimum requirements.

For example, it also must be audible above “a wide range of street noises and other ambient background sounds”.

US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood:

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