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Electric Cars Need Sound for Pedestrian Safety

October 21, 2019

Electric Cars Need Sound for Pedestrian Safety

Not only do electric cars create less air pollution, their electric engines are not as loud as internal combustion engines. When they are driven at slower speeds, it is difficult to hear them. This can be dangerous in parking lots and areas with low speeds limits. Distracted pedestrians and bicyclists might not notice an electric car approaching until it is too late.

Congress passed a 2010 law stating that by September 2019, all new electric and hybrid cars would need to emit sounds when accelerating to 18.6 miles per hour. This deadline was later changed to September 2020, with companies required to be 50 percent compliant by September 2019.

Designing a New Sound

In 2017, Nissan started working with the Man Made Music studio to design a sound for electric vehicles that would alert others of their presence. Man Made Music spent almost six months developing the new sound, which incorporated analog and digital sounds, string instruments, and sampled wind sounds.

The NHTSA recently expanded the rule, allowing auto manufacturers to offer a variety of sounds. The founder of Man Made Music said that designing these sounds can be a complex process since they have to consider safety issues while maintaining brand identities, and the three-second loops they produce must be distinctive and inoffensive.

Sound Decisions

The NHTSA stated 10 years ago that hybrid electric vehicles had a 35 percent higher chance of causing pedestrian accidents and a 57 percent higher chance of causing bicycle accidents over internal combustion engines. Therefore, having the added sound is an important safety issue. General Motors has designed their 2020 Chevrolet Bolt with a soft electric whir, and the European Union is initiating similar requirements for carmakers. They passed a rule last summer, and Jaguar is working on sounds for its I-PACE SUV.

Tesla CEO Speaks Up

Tesla’s CEO stated that the best low-speed sound systems should identify pedestrians, and he recommended proximity sensors with pleasant sounds. He added that it would produce the least noise and would be the least offensive. However, others feel that the sounds would be just as annoying as a gas-powered vehicle and would not affect a car’s driving activity. They added that proximity sensors would be more complex to develop and would make the vehicles much more expensive for consumers.

Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Offer Trusted Legal Care for Car Accident Victims

Electric cars are more popular than ever before, but they do present dangers that should be addressed. If you were involved in a car accident with an electric vehicle, contact the experienced Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law today. For a free consultation, call us at 856-414-0010 or complete an online form today. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.

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