Silence is not bliss: U.S. tells automakers to build louder EVs
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Automakers that want to sell full electric or hybrid models in the U.S. will have to make their vehicles louder under new rules passed by the U.S Department of Transportation.
The new regulations will come into effect from September, 2020, requiring 'quiet cars' to produce enough sound to alert pedestrians, cyclists, the blind and other motorists.
The regulations specify that makers of electrified cars and trucks will need to add some kind of sound to vehicles when they are moving at speeds of up to 30km/h. But regulators said tire noise, wind resistance and other factors eliminate the need for further regulation at higher speeds.
Nissan argued that audible alerts were only necessary up to 20km/h. But the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), an arm of the Department of Transport, felt that speed wasn't high enough.
The NHTSA said it expects the rules to prevent 2,400 injuries annually by 2020 and will require the addition of alert sounds to about 530,000 vehicles built in 2020.
The NHTSA estimates that automakers will spend about $55.5m annually to add external waterproof speakers to electric or hybrid vehicles to comply with the new rules. A lot less than the estimated $347m - $445m that could be saved from low speed injuries.
According to the agency, the chances of a electric or hybrid vehicle being involved in a crash with a pedestrian are 19 per cent higher than a gas-powered vehicle.
“This rule strikes the right balance for automakers and for the blind community,” said spokeswoman for car industry group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Gloria Bergquist.
Automakers have now requested that regulators allow the inclusion of multiple types of alert sounds so owners can select the ones they prefer.
For American buyers' in the year 2020, we'd recommend a V12 soundtrack.