Print 52 comment(s) - last by monkeyman1140.. on May 28 at 4:15 PM

All-electric Tesla Roadster
One of the benefits of having an electric car is about to be erased

There are many good things about hybrids and electric vehicles. They save fuel costs for the drivers and produce less pollution. However, for some people hybrids and electric cars pose a big problem, particularly for the visually impaired.

A bill was proposed in April of 2009 in the Senate that would force automakers producing electric and hybrid vehicles to integrate a system that would produce sound when the vehicles are running on electric power alone. Many hybrids and electric vehicle running at low speeds produce no sound to alert a pedestrian that the vehicle is coming.

CNN reports that a study conducted last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that hybrid cars tend to hit pedestrians more often than other cars because the pedestrians can't hear the car approach, particularly in areas where the car can't be seen. Ahead of any legislation by Washington, carmakers have agreed with blind advocates to propose plans to Congress for minimum noise levels on hybrid and electric cars.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of International Automobile Manufactures, the National Federation for the Blind, and the American Council for the Blind have banded together to propose language to be included in the Motor Safety Act of 2010. This bill would create a number of new safety rules for automakers; some of these rules are to address issues like unintended acceleration.

While the exact details of the proposed sounds for hybrid and electric cars are unknown,
CNN reports that the sound would mimic the sound patterns of internal combustion engines at low speeds with rising intensity as the vehicle moves faster. This would allow blind pedestrians to determine if a vehicle was idle at a stop light or accelerating from a standstill. The NHTSA would be in charge of choosing the sound and setting the minimum level.

And for those looking to “pimp your ride”, you wouldn't be able to customize the sound coming from the vehicle.

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RE: Engines or Tires?
By MozeeToby on 5/24/2010 12:10:17 PM , Rating: 5
And we have a winner!

At anything less than a crawl the tire noise is going to drown out the engine noise. In a quiet area you can hear a car coming down the highway from literally a mile away, and it's not the engine making the noise. I can maybe see some kind of noise for when the vehicle is moving at less than 10 mph, but making it ramp up with higher speeds is just plain stupid.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By Smartless on 5/24/2010 2:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
Umm I don't know if the article was changed but the target of these noise-makers are for say, parking lots so basically yes a crawl. A Prius is quieter than a shopping cart at low speeds. I did a paper on traffic noise modeling in college and you're right, Doppler effects normally compress engine and gearing noises leaving mainly tire noise. Also in city driving, a Prius switches to battery so basically when someone's in a crosswalk and a butthole is making a turn the blind guy will never hear it coming. I thought this law was absurd since noise pollution is a problem too but then again, a 3000lb hunk of metal is still a 3000lb hunk of metal.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By bh192012 on 5/24/2010 6:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
What about blind and deaf people? Shouldn't all cars have an electromagnetic emitter and some kind of force feedback belt blind and deaf people can wear? (ohhh my left side is jiggling, must be an oncomming car in that direction) Then cars can be silent again.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By afkrotch on 5/24/2010 8:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'd prefer cow catchers.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By Indianapolis on 5/24/2010 10:28:55 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know if you were trying to be funny, but for some reason your comment had me cracking up. And that's a bad thing since I just had hernia surgery and laughing really hurts. Jerk!

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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