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Daily Archives: September 17, 2019

NHTSA Requires Installation of Fake Sounds in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

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Depending on how you will look at it, the barely audible sound that hybrid and electric vehicles emit can be a good thing or a bad thing. The humming sound they have is a big leap in reducing noise pollution in neighborhoods and highways. However, it can also pose a risk to people who are visually impaired or blind. Therefore, the United States federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is proposing automakers to include artificial motor sounds in the system of the said products.

Based on the latest developments, the NHTSA will be requiring carmakers to install a set of fake sounds in their hybrid and EV units. The agency is looking to limit the number of allowable fake sounds in the vehicles though.

The proposal modifies the set of rules that the US government released in 2018 that necessitate the inclusion of fake motor sounds in hybrids and EVs at low speeds so that people will notice them, particularly those who are visually impaired or blind. NHTSA has set the deadline for the full compliance of automakers to 2020. Meanwhile, the European Union has the same law that will be fully enforceable in 2021.

Without artificial sounds, the only noises that hybrids and EVs produce just come from wind resistance or tire noises. These are very evident during moderate and high speeds only.

With that, the new rule mandates that new EVs under 10,000 pounds should be fitted with audible artificial sounds when traveling under 20 mph whether going forward or in reverse. The agency is yet to specify which types of sounds it will allow. They explained that the fake motor sound is no longer required at high speeds because the tire and wind noises already “provide adequate audible warning to pedestrians”.

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