Noisemaker Rule for EVs, Hybrids Clears Senate

Noisemaker Rule for EVs, Hybrids Clears Senate

Legislation that would require a certain noise threshold for hybrids and electric vehicles received unanimous approval in the Senate last week.

The bill, dubbed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, would require a minimum sound requirement for all motor vehicles. The legislation now moves to the House, which is expected to pass the measure. The bill proposes a certain amount of noise from EVs and hybrids so that the blind or pedestrians can hear the vehicle when it’s traveling at constant speed, accelerating or decelerating.

The bill doesn’t stipulate a specific speed for the simulated noise. Instead, the bill provides funding for the secretary of transportation, who would set the final rules. The bill is not only aimed at improving pedestrian safety; it would also clear up the splintering standards set by individual carmakers. Right now, the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt offer their own types of alert systems. The Volt will come with a pedestrian warning system that’s activated from one of the steering-wheel stalks. GM goes with a chirping alert that’s activated only at low speeds. Nissan recently showed off a system in the Leaf that sounds like an alien spacecraft. The Infiniti M35h is the first hybrid to have its own noisemaker system, and the Toyota Prius has an optional device, but only in Japan.

Automakers would still be allowed to come up with their own alert sounds, so long as they comply with the law, according to the bill.

If the legislation passes in the House, the rule would have to be implemented no later than 18 months after passage.

Senate Unanimously Rules in Favor of Noisy Hybrids, Electric Cars (AutoBlog Green)



It seems too ealy to registrate it.

Image: if a pedestrain already notices the approaching car or is simply buzzed by personal greeting-like noise from more than one car, he/she would very likely be pissed off. And if encounting several times a day, the whole day is ruined.

Conventional cars constantly send out engine-noise, while EV or Hybrids emit personal-specific,sudden buzz.

Amuro Ray

The system isn't intended for non-blind pedestrian. It can, but not intended to. It is, 'coz of our laziness in even using our eyes ('coz we're too busy texting or whatever).

Thus, people with sight problems have the right to complaint. Not us...

The problem comes from NHTSA report DOT HS 811 204 that plays a math trick: "1.8%" to "1.0%" turning and "5.3%" to "2.9%" backing, to claim a doubling of risk for 19 and 7 incidents (table 6a.) But hybrids have fewer straight line incidents "44%" to "47%" projecting 109 fewer incidents. The math in the report does not match the false hazard claim.

House bill H.R. 734 is still in committee so there is time to call your Congressman in opposition. Don't be surprised if they are listed as a cosponsor to this lame legislation.


I suggest that congress mandates all these electric cars to sound like the flying car George Jetson drove(piloted?) while he dropped off his wife & kids on the way to work during the opening of evry show. Wouldn't that be cool?


I once heard on a podcast that some manufacturers were experimenting with fire alarms which would emit a "SSHHHH-SSHHHH" noise (white noise) because it's easy for the ear to determine the direction of the sound, even amidst a smoke-filled room, to find the exit. Imagine the opposite sort of sound -- a cellphone's high-pitched ringing or beeping in a crowd, and everyone checks their phone, because they can't tell exactly where the sound is coming from.

I think something like an intermittent white-noise SSHHH sound could be a reasonable solution here. It wouldn't be terribly annoying, and yet it would also be easy to triangulate the location of the sound (is the car at my 5 o'clock? At my 8 o'clock?).


I remember reading stories about the first rules and laws for the 'horseless carriage'. People having to get out and run into intersections to make sure they were clear and other inane BS. There are still people that get hit by normal noisy cars so instead if this crazy legislation we need to start breeding smarter people...


How about a clicking noise. A speed governed clicker would be ok. Something like the clicker on the iPod. Have it only work when the car is in motion and stop clicking over 20MPH. Seems like it would be easy to integrate into the cars electronics... I believe that the Prius already has that ability according to a rumour I heard...


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Thanks! Love you radion show...

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