Automakers Agree to Add Sound to Electric Vehicles

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Many hybrids and nearly all electric vehicles make almost no noise at low speeds and have been considered a danger to the blind almost since they first appeared on the roads. Now automakers and advocates for the blind have reached an agreement to get behind new minimal sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The proposal — drawn up by the National Federation for the Blind, the American Council for the Blind, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Alliance of International Automobile Manufacturers — requires federal auto safety regulators to design a minimum sound rule in the next 18 months. It calls for the sound to occur automatically and to be standardized by automakers and dealers, so drivers won’t be able to customize their cars’ sounds like they do ringtones (lest we all be listening to Chevy Volts spewing out Lady Gaga).

The sound rule, which would be phased in over the next three years should it be adopted, was offered as an amendment to the auto safety bills in both the U.S. House and Senate.

Automakers Back Rules for Minimum Sounds From Electric Cars (Detroit Free Press)

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