Let’s hear it for electric cars! No really. I mean, let’s hear electric cars….
As electric cars hit mainstream markets this year in greater numbers, safety concerns about their operation are on the rise. That’s because, without a combustion engine, electric vehicles operate practically silently.
You might not hear them driving behind you as you are riding a bicycle. Perhaps your kids won’t hear an advancing vehicle when they are playing near a street. Sight-impaired individuals also rely on their sense of hearing to warn them when they approach crosswalks.
Electric car noise issues are not just limited to 100% electric powered vehicles. Plug-in electric hybrids also operate very quietly.
As detailed in this related post, this is the proposed solution to the electric car sound issue:
“Two new solutions may solve the problem of too-silent hybrids. A year ago, Stanford University researchers in electrical engineering, the biosciences and sound engineering founded Enhanced Vehicle Acoustics, which markets external sound systems for hybrids. EVA’s sound system for the Toyota Prius, which runs only on electricity at low speeds, emits sounds similar to that of a regular combustion engine, but at a fraction of the sound level. When the hybrid reaches speeds of 20 to 25 mph the sound produced by the tire noise and wind generated by the car is normally sufficient for bystanders to hear so EVA’s system shuts off.”
Adding “fake” car sounds to electric vehicles and hybrids is described in this video:
Its one thing for auto manufacturers to incorporate sound-related safety features in their vehicles. But the government wants to make that feature standard. Recently, President Obama signed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, which will require that hybrids, electric vehicles, and other vehicles produce some sound to help keep pedestrians safe.
While we wean ourselves off foreign oil with EVs and PEHVs, eventually we won’t have to worry about trading one issue for another. So, let’s hear it for electric cars!