PHOTO CAPTION: Tesla Model S electric sedan will benefit pedestrians and drivers alike with addition of alert sounds at low speeds.

Silent Electric Cars A 'National Nightmare'?

Whoever wrote Tom Gara's headline about regulatory issues of giving electric cars a safety sound when traveling at low speeds, thinks the quietness of EVs is a 'national nightmare.'

Published: 09-Jan-2013

One of the nice things about electric cars, reviewers often mention, is they are blissfully quiet; freed from the need for an internal combustion engine exploding chambers of gasoline thousands of times every minute, they tend to make minimal amounts of noise.

They’re so quiet, in fact, that it can be a problem — a problem big enough that federal regulators have stepped in with a plan (PDF) to make the cars play a sound of their own. Pedestrians — visually impaired ones especially, but also those blessed with fine eyesight — often hear an oncoming vehicle without seeing it. By being so eerily quiet, electric cars pose a safety risk, so the logic goes.

That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published this list of proposed sounds that electric vehicles should make. Have a listen — it’s what the future sounds like!


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