Ruling in November will require new EVs to make noise beginning 2018

BY Samuel Reiman • August 1, 2015

Advances in technology help us solve problems, but also at times can create new ones.

Although electric and hybrid vehicles have a lot going for them, one major concern is that visually impaired individuals, or individuals just not paying attention, may not realize when there is an electric vehicle is coming along the road due to the lack of noise the vehicles produce.

After passing many deadlines in the past, on Wednesday, the Obama administration said it will release its final “quiet car” rules in November. However, federal law permits automakers 18 months to comply with all new vehicle regulations and so the new features won’t appear on new models until 2018.

Additional details are available in a report published in The Detroit News, where interviews with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind presented some telling numbers and points of note, including:

- The vehicles would have to produce sounds under a certain speed that would be distinct from other ambient sounds. The exact number of that speed is to be determined but is expected be between 10-20 mph.

- Currently, the odds of a hybrid/pedestrian collision are 19 percent higher than for one with a gas/diesel-powered vehicle and 38 percent higher for a hybrid/cyclist collision.

- The upcoming rules could conflict with new laws Japan and the European Union are planning to reduce noise pollution and could drown out the sounds of other vehicles in motion.

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