Although the relative silence of hybrid and all-electric vehicles have made them the choice of gangsters for drive-by shootings, the rest of the world is less than enamored with the difficulty involved in hearing one coming--especially when trying to cross the street. One of the biggest opponents to the silent running electric vehicle is the blind community, which rely on the sound of a vehicle to detect when it’s safe to cross a street.
To overcome this problem, firms like Lotus and several engineering groups have developed special noise generators for electric vehicles but now the automakers have finally come to an agreement on minimum noise levels for them.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Council for the Blind and the National Federation for the Blind have presented a proposal to Congress with some ideas that could make their way into the upcoming Motor Safety Act of 2010.
The main idea is for the NHTSA to create a new safety standard for electrically powered cars involving some sort of minimum sound required when operating at low speeds. Wind and tire noise are sufficient at higher speeds, according to the groups.
The automakers would pick the sound and the NHTSA would determine a suitable minimum noise level.
Stay tuned for an update.