Automakers: Safety sounds for EVs could hurt sales if done the wrong way

Love the way your EV glides silently through the city? Well, it might be dangerous for pedestrians, especially the blind. The US government addressed this issue with a 2010 law that requires automakers to provide EVs with some sort of artificial sound generator to announce their coming. Japan and the EU have implemented similar regulations.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed detailed rules for what you might call “safety sounds” in January, and invited automakers to comment, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and several individual car companies did so last week.

The automakers said that the sounds could irritate drivers and the public if done the wrong way. A loud or unpleasant sound “causes lower acceptance among pedestrians and drivers,” five makers of EVs and hybrids told NHTSA officials, according to Automotive News.

The automakers especially objected to a proposed requirement that EVs and hybrids play sounds while motionless. They said that sounds from stationary cars would make neighborhoods noisier, and could confuse pedestrians by masking the sound of approaching cars or making it difficult to tell when a vehicle was moving.

Most EVs and hybrids sold today already have a safety sound system, and most can’t be disabled by the driver. Most do not play sounds while a car is not moving.

 

Source: Automotive News