Noise Requirement For Electric Cars Delayed Again

2 years ago by Mark Kane 85

Graphic Showing Nissan LEAF Sound

Graphic Showing Nissan LEAF Sound

InisdeEVs' LEAF Warning Button

InsideEVs’ LEAF Warning Button

According to Reuters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is having trouble in implementing sound alerts for electric and hybrid cars driven at low speeds.

The implementation deadline was announced for 2018, but it seems that the NHTSA has failed to prepare rules and specification by the November 2015 cut off.

Most of us will probably be happy that the NHTSA wasn’t able to spoil the silence feature in EVs, but they do intend to try again in mid-March.

“The decision is the latest setback for a government plan that has been in the works since 2013 to require “quiet cars” — vehicles that operate at low speeds without an internal combustion engine running — to add new audio alerts at low speeds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the odds of a hybrid vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash are 19 percent higher compared with a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

The auto safety regulator has said that if the proposal were implemented, there would be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and bicyclist injuries annually. About 125,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured each year.

The proposed rules would force automakers like Tesla Motors Inc., General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. to add automatic audio alerts to electric and hybrid vehicles traveling at 18 miles per hour or less.”

Automakers aren’t happy with new regulations, because in their opinion, the alerts are too loud and too complicated.

EVs needs external waterproof speakers to make sound, as well as a special controller and software because the sound changes depending on the situation. All those things add costs, while accidents at low speeds aren’t typically that dangerous (drivers still could use the horn).

Here is the Fisker Karma sound alert demo, followed by Renault ZOE:

Source: Reuters

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85 responses to "Noise Requirement For Electric Cars Delayed Again"

  1. Trollnonymous says:

    This is all nonsense. They’re spending time and money on a non issue.

    What a waste.

    1. Anon says:

      The data disagrees. Apparently, the visually challenged (and dogs) tend to get run over with very quiet vehicles rather often. Mostly EVs and hybrids in EV mode. Contrary to popular myth, not all blind people have the acoustic capability of bats.

      1. Assaf says:

        Absolutely. We have ours on always.

        I don’t want to have some poor sod run over. Even with the sound they kind of creep up on people.

      2. Martin B. says:

        Please share this data.

          1. Scramjett says:

            Now share data from a disinterested third party.

            1. Anon says:

              You’ve already done that for me. Thanks. 🙂

            2. Assaf says:

              @Scramjett the link was from an official research report, using official public data, published by the government body tasked – by law – with road safety.

              Should be a good enough source for everyone who’s not a complete conspiracy-theory nut.

          2. JakeY says:

            I remember when the report was published and the thing that stuck out to me is that it fails to control for the prevalence of pedestrians and cyclists in markets where hybrids are popular vs an average ICE vehicle.

            In other words, the higher prevalence of of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclist may largely be because hybrids are more popular (and more frequently driven) in areas with more people and cyclists. The study failed to account for that.

      3. jimbo says:

        Then why don’t we add extremely bright multicolored flashing lights to all cars for deaf people? And why do we not add the sounds to gasoline vehicles, which are very quiet these days, particularly if they have start-stop? And if we’re so worried about people being injured, what about the 7 million people who die every year from air pollution, nevermind the countless more who have chronic lung problems as a result? That’s a lot more than “2,000” injuries per year from EVs.

        No, this is not about safety, this is about creating a hurdle for EVs.

        I’m not certain the data disagrees either. I looked up data a few years ago and hybrids were in fact involved in fewer accidents per mile than your average vehicle. This is probably due to the fact that more responsible/safer drivers tend to drive hybrids, but basically, the data shows otherwise. I don’t know where NHTSA got their data for this, but I doubt its veracity.

        http://hiwaay.net/~bzwilson/prius/Prius_Fatal_Accidents/prius_fatalities_2001_07.html

        1. Scramjett says:

          Yes, whenever a regulatory agency is trying to develop regulations, they run the risk of slanting any research that supports the regulations. It is quite often unintentional, but it does happen. Some agencies have “countermeasures” to prevent such slanting, but the NHTSA doesn’t strike me as being one of them.

          1. Anon says:

            Be thankful it’s a white paper (and not a media opinion about one), with all the data, filtering with any biasing presented– so you can tell if the NHTSA is purposely biasing the results to “support regulations” that don’t even exist yet.

            Simply attacking who did the study, rather than actually reading the paper concerning methodology, sample size, etc. first, seems in and of itself, blatantly biased against it.

            Same logic was used for those who hated Al Gore. Attack the man, discredit the mostly accurate depiction of ignoring climate change in that now infamous film he did. This made Exxon’s and Koch Bros. work sooo much easier to generate counter FUD, while the world cloaked and heated up. While these corporations made money hand over fist.

            You’re learning from the best, ScramJet!!! 😉

      4. Djoni says:

        Data? Which one? From who?

        Totally idiotic belief is the only data that I see.
        Some luxury car, even none luxury doesn’t emit any audible sound, except for young dog and bat.
        It is the sole responsibility of the driver to avoid anything that could cross his path.
        If you ever drove a motorcycle, you would have learn that, whatever you show, whatever you cry, sometimes something is going to cross your ride and it is your job to prevent it and to avoid it.

        It’s call being cautious and alert and it work fine and don’t disturb anyone.
        If you can’t, don’t drive any vehicle because you’re a risk for yourself and others.
        Simple as that.

        1. Anon says:

          The idea of all pedestrians or bicyclists being able to control the world around them and avoid all accidents by simply being “more alert” or hypervigilant– is far more Darwinian than realistic.

          Here is the NHTSA data I was referring to:

          http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811204.PDF

          1. Scramjett says:

            Wait, he didn’t say anything about cyclists and pedestrians? He was talking about drivers.

            Honestly, I think the real problem is our broken transportation system which favors cars over any other mobility mode.

            1. Skryll says:

              Truth. Starts with the 5 minute wait after pressing the pedestrian crossing button that makes you feel like the cars have absolute priority and you will end up running across red instead of waiting for pedestrian green. The local bus system is terrible, the subway feels like its as built in the 80s and never improved, shuts down between 1am and 4am despite that clubs close at 2am. Bicyclists get runover and killed all the time… sounds like third world? Nope, northern california, USA.

              1. Anon says:

                There are often no traffic crossings or other infrastructure warnings for every ‘blind out’ driveway in the country.

                No noise, no warning. No time to react. Smack.

                1. Djoni says:

                  You seems to be the one biased here.
                  Your answer about vigilant driving bounce to pedestrian and cyclist and I never mention any of those and it was clear that I was talking about driver.
                  Usually where I live driver drive motorized vehicle.
                  So if you can’t read that properly, the rest is doubtful in my mind.
                  And you strike again a fall ball with out of context comment
                  “The idea of all pedestrians or bicyclists being able to control the world around them and avoid all accidents by simply being “more alert” or hypervigilant– is far more Darwinian than realistic.”
                  Well at least you got that: Nobody is controlling the world!
                  This also applied to sound that won’t, I repeat, won’t stop people to step in your way, fall in or get pushed by wind other lunatic people or intoxicated one or whatever.
                  There is no solution to perfect security, and this sound thing fall way short of having responsible and vigilant driver.
                  And if all the scary people want one, at least put a switch that safe driver cans shut it off like in the Zoé
                  I would gladly shut it off forever.
                  But moreover the paper that you ling does not even provide evidence of what your assuming, in fact it does the opposite for pedestrian and acknowledge for cyclist, but that is after they properly caution reader that their small sample study wasn’t reliable and further more extensive survey must be made.
                  It look like they just want to keep their paycheck for me.
                  The conclusion is clear, this is totally overblown.

        2. Dragon says:

          If you want to ignore the official data, fine. I can tell you from personal experience that people don’t notice hybrids and EVs. Many times I’ve crawled along behind a group of people in a parking lot in EV mode while they didn’t realize a car was behind them. Eventually they’ll hear the tires rolling and turn and startle, rushing out of the way. In that case I can of course avoid running them over, but it’s easy to imagine other cases where someone’s staring at a cell phone and walks out from between two cars in front of me, or is riding a bike and turns in to me at the last moment trying to look over their shoulder because they heard something but not something they realized was a vehicle. It hasn’t happened to me personally, but it obviously _could_ happen because time and time again I’ve encountered people that don’t hear EVs at low speeds.

      5. sven says:

        When driving NYC, virtually everyone who steps into my Volt’s path when I have the right of way is a non-blind, non-deaf millennial with their head buried in their smart phone. I can’t drive a block without at least one of them entering a crosswalk against the light or jay-walking without even looking up from their smartphone to see if they have a walk sign or to look if traffic is coming. The startled look on their faces when you honk at them and they realize they’re crossing against the light and could get hit by traffic makes you think they might have learned a lesson and won’t do it again, but I seriously doubt it. It’s mind boggling how they put themselves in harms way.

        1. Michel says:

          You’r right about it and some of them don’t even bother to pay attention when you used the low noise horn for pedestrian on the volt and some time they don’t bother for the full horn too . The probleme it’s more about pedestrians how don’t pay attention that the EV

      6. Nix says:

        …”(and dogs) tend to get run over with very quiet vehicles rather often”

        I’ve got your solution for dogs, and it works no matter how quiet or loud a vehicle is.

        It’s called a leash.

        Besides, my experience with dogs running into the street is that dogs typically have no clue regardless of how much noise vehicles make.

        1. Anon says:

          Idealistic scenarios don’t have much place in reality.

          Just the other day, I nearly drove over a (seemingly) very stupid dog crossing the road. It actually BACKTRACKED right in front of me as I got CLOSER at the last couple seconds. What sense does that make? From a human one, none.

          But the evolution of canines suggests they can’t do an appropriate threat assessment, and this limits their ability to react accordingly to save themselves from certain death, in situations involving oncoming cars.

          I owned a Husky, and he would willingly jump in front of an oncoming bus just to get to the other side of a road, while not grasping the cause and effect of his deadly choices.

          It’s just how they’re built. And the blind often use them for guides.

      7. Raymondjram says:

        The unsighted are a vast minority. Would you like the NHTSA prohibit the vehicle color “red” because when mentally ill patients see red and either fall in a epilepthic state (inluding my sister-in-law) or go violent?

        We cannot regulate the use of vehcile just for physical or mantal health conditions!

    2. Waiting says:

      Dig deep and you might just find a connection with this asinine noise requirement with Big Oil! Anything to make EV’s less attractive to people who are looking for that quiet car. This is horses*^@….”The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the odds of a hybrid vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash are 19 percent higher compared with a traditional gas-powered vehicle.” First NHSTA isn’t going to ‘estimate’ anything. They are going to provide hard factual data. So the clown who is providing these types of stats is doing it for inflationary reasons. Like someone else said, this is not an issue. What the F*** is the car horn for?

      1. Paul Schlueter says:

        I want to see the data of the number of pedestrians who have actually been hit by an electric or hybrid car, compared to the number who have actually been hit by ICE cars.

        1. Anon says:

          This should give you an idea. It’s about twice the number compared for ICE Vehicles, in certain maneuvering / speed situations:

          http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811204.PDF

      2. Shane says:

        You are correct. The majority of noise coming from any vehicle is caused by the tires against pavement — not the engine. This is obviously a ploy lobbied by the oil industry. There’s no other explanation.

    3. Proton says:

      My 2015 Volt has a manually operated chatter horn by pushing a button on the turn indicator stalk. It announces, but does not startle as the regular horn probably would.

    4. Shane says:

      The majority of noise from any vehicle comes from the tires against the pavement — not the engine. This is proven. This is a ploy to make electric vehicles less enticing — Big Oil must have its generous fingers in the pockets of the NHTS.

    5. Raymondjram says:

      I agree 100%. Most drivers never listen to the other cars (and noisy ones bother them)> Same happens with pedestrians. The great majority will prefer silent vehciles over noisy ones, and the deaf don’t care, yet many regular pedestrians are glued to their phones and music devices and will never hear any vehicle, so adding more noise will not help at all.

  2. ClarksonCote says:

    Tell me more about the “InsideEVs’ LEAF Warning Button” 🙂

    1. Stephane says:

      That button used to be a feature on 2010-2011 LEAFs.

  3. Just_Chris says:

    I really don’t understand why this has been allowed to become an issue. If they have data from hybrids that there is an increase in likelihood of an accident then this should just be implemented.

    The pinger doesn’t have to be as complex as some people think, and if it is place at the front of the vehicle and the cabin is sound insulated well enough then the driver can’t hear it. The LEAF had an artificial sound from day 1, this is just another non-issue that people use to try and slow the progress of EV’s.

    I think it is time for bit of JFDI!

    1. Ambulator says:

      How about on all the ICE cars? Have they even been tested for whether extra noise would reduce accidents there? I suspect it would, but not by as much. But, how much is preventing an injury worth?

      1. ATX Leaf says:

        If the data exists, it is not in that article. The closest thing to specifics I found in the article was:

        “Opponents of this proposed regulation will no doubt assert that no deaths or injuries are directly attributable to silent automobiles. I submit to the department that it is simply too early to know whether any vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents have been caused by silent vehicles, since the technology is relatively new and accident reports do not usually denote whether the vehicle involved was operating with or without a combustion engine.”

      2. philip d says:

        “The tests–admittedly unscientific–involved people standing in parking lots or on sidewalks who were asked to signal when they heard several different hybrid models drive by.”

        I would like to see an actual scientific test done with various common ICEs as a control. I have no doubt that the test subjects couldn’t hear the various hybrids in the tests but there are a number of questions that these informal tests don’t address.

        Which hybrids were used in all studies? Could they not hear all hybrids even the ones that don’t have the capability to run on electricity at very low speeds if these were used? How fast were the plugin cars driving? Did they vary the speeds on the low end? If not what was the one speed they used? How much ambient noise was present for the tests?

        These are all important to know, plus many I’m sure I didn’t think of, in order to understand how plugins vary from the newer quieter ICEs and in what situations.

        For example a Volt running at 5 miles an hour through a city intersection with its AC compressor running would very likely be noisier than a new luxury ICE with no climate control on rolling through at the same low speed. This is just one example but there will be many instances where quiet ICEs will be just as silent as an EV.

        Having said that if the government finds this issue serious enough that it warrants regulation and a bill that makes it law then there needs to be a proper scientific study conducted to see if all cars need varying alert systems for the blind for varying circumstances.

        As is it seems to be a sloppy sort of blanket rule that covers only EVs in certain circumstances. I’m sure if one were to set up an unscientific experiment to prove that newer quieter ICEs are dangerous to the sight impaired the parameters could easily be set to make the outcome positive.

    2. sven says:

      Won’t auto-braking/pedestrian detection safety features in new cars eliminate the need for noise makers in EVs?

      1. mr. M says:

        Only if the pedestrian that walk onto the street leave enough room to brake and the system has no latency and the system is 100% perfect. Of course the first can never be accieved, regardless of used sensors. A pedestrian stepping onto the street 5m in front of you will be hit regardless if you brake or not.

  4. kubel says:

    I disabled my VSP system on my LEAF. It’s not necessary.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      19% more likely to cause an accident, so it is required and should be required by law.

      I hate the way car laws are debated it’s the same with other car related laws,

      * bull bars result in many more deaths – they should be banned on vehicles driven in town.

      * SUVs are higher so you can’t see children when reversing so should have reversing camera’s.

      there are many more fairly logical things that should be a legal requirement on new cars. Vehicles driven on our roads should be as safe as reasonably possible – it is perfectly reasonable to have a sound emitting device on an EV at low speed. Road accidents, even minor ones resulting in injuries that people recover from are still something we should be avoiding.

      1. Assaf says:

        +1.

        In the wealthy world, this is by far the #1 cause of premature death and debilitation. Any reduction should be a high societal priority.

        1. Nix says:

          Assaf, -1

          You are falsely conflating low speed pedestrian accidents with cars, with high speed vehicle accidents with other cars and vehicles running of the road at high speed.

          And you’ve falsely implicated low noise as the cause of those pedestrian accidents, when reality is that car vs. pedestrian accidents are obviously still happening even with ICE vehicles that wouldn’t even be required to have a noise device under these regulations.

          1. Assaf says:

            -1 yourself for lousy reading comprehension. I never said this was the leading cause of lethal accidents.

            Car accidents overall have a huge impact, which means any chip we take at them translates to many healthy lives saved.

            I haven’t yet seen any argument against this noise fix, that doesn’t boil down to evidence-free fact-free knee-jerk, stemming from some weird mix of NIMBY, Luddite-ism and anti-government conspiratorial thinking.

            I’m sure seat belts were not exactly universally popular when they were introduced. In fact, when we visited Winnipeg in 1988 everyone there seemed to be driving sans belts, and we were so young and impressionable that we did it too for a couple of drives there, at speeds as high as 50 MPH.

  5. Just_Chris says:

    I know the Karma had a lot of problems under the skin and build quality issues but IMO it is one of the best looking EV’s ever made.

    It’s a shame that it was never done properly.

  6. MTN Ranger says:

    All modern cars are essentially quiet at 0-10mph. I hope it gets delayed indefinitely.

  7. EVcarNut says:

    NOISE POLLUTION! …LET’S GET RID IT ! THAT’S WHAT THE HORN IS FOR, USE THE DAMN HORN ALREADY….WE DON’T NEED CONSTANT ONGONG NOISE…

    1. Vexar says:

      My sentiments, more or less. Knowing Tesla, that feature would likely be something you configure in your driver profile. So short-lived, though. The car can see the bikes and pedestrians already.
      The cacophony of customizable sounds… Airwolf, Knight Rider, ring tones, thanks, NHTSA.

    2. ffbj says:

      Something like collison detection, which many cars have, that makes a customized sound.
      So in New York if it detected a pedestrian in front of you while you were in motion it would, yell out: Hey I’m Driving Here.

      1. sven says:

        A Midnight Cowboy reference! FYI, the cab and cabbie were not a scripted part of that famous movie scene. That was a real cabbie, not an actor, that almost hit Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. The “I’m walking here” line and the exchange with the cab driver was completely improvised/ad-libbed by Dustin Hoffman.

        Per Wikipedia:
        Hoffman “stated that there were many takes to hit the traffic light just right, so, they didn’t have to pause while walking. In that take, the timing was perfect, and a cab came out of nowhere and nearly hit them. Hoffman wanted to say, ‘We’re filming a movie here!’, but decided not to ruin the take.”

        The original, a homage, and at :47 seconds a “I’m driving here” quote.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Cowboy

        1. ffbj says:

          Yep, you got me!

    3. oldevguy says:

      Well said!!!!

  8. Jonathan says:

    I think that this is really necessary as a safety feature. I’ve been in plenty of situations where pedestrians and cyclists just haven’t been aware of me coming. Also I love that Consumer Reports criticized the whine that comes from the Leaf at low speeds. It’s a safety feature!

    1. Khai L. says:

      So the pedestrians have a right to jump in front of traffic at their leisure? When does personal responsibility come in?

      The blind know enough to cross at cross-walks or have seeing-eye dogs that look out for them, why can’t sighted individuals do the same? If they’re going to jaywalk, then do so with some degree of personal responsibility.

      My stopping in time to prevent me from running over you is my respect for human life. The least the pedestrians and bicyclists can do is acknowledge that there are others who use the road besides themselves.

      1. ffbj says:

        Its a two way street. Having driven for many years I constantly watched for pedestrians to do dumb things. It happens. Towards the end of my driving I noticed a marked uptick in lets call them aggressive walkers.

        The ones who just march right out into the cross-walk, almost daring you to hit them.
        To them I would hark back to some of the best advice I ever got:
        “Look both ways before you cross the street.”

        1. sven says:

          In NYC, on a one way street you have to look both ways before you cross. Too many food delivery men on electric bicycles speeding the wrong way down the street.

      2. Jonathan says:

        I think its more complicated than you make it. People have grown accustomed to cars that make noise. Sure they need to look and be aware, but that doesn’t always mean that they do. It’s more of an issue for cyclists, who may be riding on the shoulder and don’t hear you coming along side them. I’ve been on both sides of this situation.

      3. Karl says:

        Khai, in my experience, it’s not streets, but parking lots where pedestrians and drivers are at the highest risk of collision.

        1. Khai L. says:

          So that’s two-fold. A parking lot is NOT a place to drive above 15mph. If the driver can’t avoid the idiot pedestrian, then he’s driving too fast. Likewise, a parking lot is where pedestrians should be paying more attention to cars, because they’re everywhere and can be backing out at any moment. My leaf makes a beeping sound when reversing and darwin-award-nominees still act surprised when I start to move. You can’t fix stupid, and misguided legislation only serves to spread them.

    2. Djoni says:

      B.S.
      I had a lot of near mist in my Leaf, while starting moving at an intersection and the stupid thing was making noise.
      So it’s not helping anything.
      On the other end, the A pillar is a FAR more dangerous piece of equipment because it blind any pedestrian or cycling waiting to cross.
      I ‘have been driving my Leaf for almost 4 years, and I still get caught not seeing a standing person on each side of the road.
      Happily, I drive slowly and I never hit anyone although there were some close call.
      It’s even worse when you turning.

  9. Someone out there says:

    What about deaf people? I think we also need to have a person run in front of the car with a red flag warning people the car is coming. Just to be safe…

  10. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    This is absolute EV-bashing B.S. It’s a politically motivated attempt to make EVs more expensive and less desirable.

    There are many gasmobiles that are very quiet when idling or running at very low speeds. Singling out EVs to require them, and only them, to produce a loud noise at low speed, is not really intended to protect the blind; that’s just the politically correct excuse they’re offering for this blatant attempt to sabotage demand for EVs.

    What is perhaps worse is to see people here actually defending this hypocrisy.

  11. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I would like to have the option to install a sound system that will allow to play synthetic ICE engine sound. It should allow me to switch between Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo, Audi, BMW, Mercedez, Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin…etc.

    Or would they rather I record my neighbor’s Harley sound to play it everywhere?

    Or, how about require owners just play their “favorite version” of music loudly when they drive below 10mph?

  12. jelloslug says:

    This is completely unnecessary. There is more than enough noise from the tires at low speeds.

    1. EV Driver says:

      I think the issue is, as some others have pointed out, mostly about parking lots/garages. In most parking garages, because you are usually driving on a higher quality surface than a roadway, your tires don’t make a lot of noise. It is very easy for people to, for instance, quickly turn around after closing their trunk and not notice a car is coming by.

      On the other hand, my EV does emit a noise below 17mph and I still quite often startle people in garages, so I don’t know what the answer is.

      1. Nix says:

        I keep hearing that this is for blind people. Is it for blind people parking their cars in parking garages?

        Seriously, if this is just about people having to pay attention to cars where they absolutely already know there are cars circling around them, no noise devices are going to solve that.

        A parking garage with just a dozen cars driving around with noise makers is just going to be a non-directional cacophony of pointless noise echoing off of every wall, ceiling, and floor.

        It would quickly become pointless non-directional background noise that people would just quickly ignore. They would walk out in front of traffic anyways, just like people get hit by cars on the streets all the time, even with lots of noise from gas cars.

  13. Martin T says:

    What a load of Crap.

    Most Petrol / Diesel cars a so quite it is not funny these days.
    Does that mean all vehicles at low speed need noise making devises?

    EV’s only need one if other vehicles are also fitted as many models are very quite.

    But nothing helps the morons wearing ear buds blasting away while texting.

    Maybe Darwin was right?

  14. Robb Stark says:

    Every new safety regulation is met with skepticism. All new safety regulations are unnecessary and not cost effective.

    Seat belts, air bags, ABS,daylight running lights,3rd brake light etc etc etc.

    EV proponents always point to quiet ride as one of the benefits but when this topic is brought up suddenly luxury ICEv are just as quiet as EVs.

    It does pass the smell test. Or hearing test.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Robb Stark said:

      “EV proponents always point to quiet ride as one of the benefits but when this topic is brought up suddenly luxury ICEv are just as quiet as EVs.”

      Both of those are true, despite your attempt to over-simplify the situation.

      Even those whining that EVs need noise-makers only claim they need to be on at low or relatively low speeds; at high speeds, there is enough noise from tires and wind whipping around the car to warn pedestrians. Nobody claims you’d need noisemakers working at highway speed, where EVs are typically much quieter than even the most luxurious gasmobiles.

      But at very low speeds, at least some if not most luxury cars are very quiet, almost as quiet as EVs.

      If this really is a serious danger despite the complete lack of any accident statistics indicating that it is, then any new safety standard should be applied on the basis of measured decibels emitted by the car at various speeds. It should not be applied solely to EVs.

      1. mr. M says:

        Mercedes is far quieter at highway speeds than the tesla (if you dont buy a AMG).

  15. Just_Chris says:

    I read quite a few of the comments here and while I agree that avoiding low (sub 10 mph) accidents is not a major show stopper. It is really not a major expense to a car manufacturer to put a system on the car that makes a small amount of noise at low speed.

    I really think that it is important to bring these things in, if we don’t put these devices on EV’s then there is always going to be someone trying to ban EV’s from the local car park.

    Lets legislate and move on, lets start asking other important safety questions like how many young children are burnt every year from touching hot exhaust pipes – we defiantly need guards and potentially a system to cool the exhaust quickly. Is it safe to dispense petrol without eye protection and gloves… perhaps even overalls.

    In fact I think we could have an entire article focusing on a whole list of road safety related issues.

    1. Jeff D says:

      I hope you’re being sarcastic, because there is already to much legislation. People need to take responsibility for themselves no matter where they are. There was a study,I wish I knew where I saw it, but they studied the safety of intersections with and without signs. The intersection without signs was safer because people paid attention to what was going on where people tended to use the signs as an excuse.

  16. Koenigsegg says:

    not needed

  17. Nix says:

    if the problem is difficulty hearing approaching vehicles, why don’t they just ban any vehicle that makes background noise that keeps people from hearing other vehicles.

    Make a very low noise pollution limit, and then it would be easier to hear tire noise and wind noise from approaching vehicles. Much less background noise pollution would make it easier to hear all low noise vehicles, both gas and EV.

    Or better yet, stop pretending that blind people can safely travel by ear alone, and actually get serious. Build out a technology solution that would provide a technology device that would be provided to blind people that would warn them of approaching vehicles of all types.

    1. Nix says:

      Or even better yet, mandate collision avoidance systems for all vehicles, and then make all vehicles produce noise any time the collision avoidance system any time it detects the potential possibility of a pedestrian accident.

      If blind people on the streets is the problem, provide a transponder that issues a signal that alerts collision avoidance systems of their presence, and produce a noise specifically for them only when they are present.

      The collision avoidance system would actually help solve a bigger, real problem, which is high speed accident with other cars that do much more damage.

  18. CDAVIS says:

    From Article Post: “The proposed rules would force automakers like Tesla Motors Inc., General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. to add automatic audio alerts to electric and hybrid vehicles traveling at 18 miles per hour or less.”
    ——-

    As has already basically been said by several commenters here, many ICE vehicles today are very quite < 18mph; from outside of car you only hear the sound of the tires rolling. Where are the government studies/estimates & concerns that more pedestrians will be getting runner over by those quite ICE cars unless a noise-maker is installed?

    Most cars eventually will be EV or Hybrid…imagine being in a traffic jam with all those cars blaring their noise-makers!

    1. Scramjett says:

      I do believe that this is just the usual FUD associated with new technology. Most people, especially the blind, have no knowledge or experience with hybrids and electrics, but instead of calming down, taking a deep breath and really, honestly, and seriously studying the issue and researching the merits and voracity of a potential problem, they immediately launch into reactionary hysterics.

      It’s not just the blind either, everyone in this country does it. That’s why nothing gets done in this country, because as soon as someone proposes even the most minor change, all of the sudden thousands of people who have no idea how it would actually effect them launch into reactionary mode and freak out over how many people will die or how their lives will be horrifically ruined. A prime example is just about any high speed rail project in this country, or any infrastructure project that isn’t a road or highway.

      It is just too easy to blame one group or another rather than identifying the root cause of a problem and actually, honestly fixing it.

  19. Scramjett says:

    I’d like to see the European readers on this site weigh in on the subject. Do any of the European countries have any such rules? Why or why not? What about Scandinavian countries? I suspect that the way many European countries build their infrastructure would mean that this is a non-issue in Europe. But I’d very much like their perspective.

    1. jdbob says:

      Wikipedia has an article about this subject. The European section is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_warning_sounds#European_Union

      1. heisenberght says:

        Most important part: ” In April 2014 the European Parliament approved the legislation that requires the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems, which is mandatory for all new electric and hybrid electric vehicles. The new rule established a transitional period of 5 years to comply with the regulation”

        e.g. at least 5 years until something happens… most likely even more 😉

    2. mr. M says:

      I read that the EU is working on similar laws. It will be implemented around the same timeframe.

  20. Priusmaniac says:

    Yet another fossil attack. I wonder how many decibels a coal power plant is going to be forced to emit to warn all the people, 10 miles around it, that they are in imminent danger from mercury, NOx and other toxics being pumped straight in their lungs if they come in the plant zone.

  21. Tom says:

    The referenced report states:
    “The small sample size used in this study remains as a limitation towards conducting further analysis. Incidence rates provided in this report should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size. Future analysis using larger sample size would provide better
    estimate of the problem size.”

    Small sample sizes have large variability, so 19% may not be statistically significant.
    My personal experience is that I cannot hear most sedan type ice cars in a parking lot, so I think a better approach would be more general, based on db noise emission, and applied to all vehicles. If the quietest ice vehicle is deemed sufficiently loud, then that can be the standard to which evs are compared, and any added noise emitter need be no louder than that standard.

  22. skyfish says:

    EV’s and hybrids just need a bell, like on a bicycle that the driver can use to warn ppl and get their attention.

    i’ve often startled ppl in a parking lot whilst creeping along on electric motors… but it would have been WORSE to honk at them.