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National Federation for the Blind

  • Nissan IMx concept, 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

    Less than two years from now, barring action by the Trump administration, a National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration rule will require hybrid and electric cars to produce an audible noise under 19 mph. Alongside its Nissan IMx self-driving electric SUV concept it launched at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, the maker of the world's highest-volume electric car revealed its interpretation of what future electric cars will sound like. Or, perhaps, what they will sing: Nissan calls it "Canto," and it will be the official sound of Nissan's future electric cars. DON'T MISS: Electric-car noise...

  • Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving prototype
    Electric-car noise rules to be canceled under Trump deregulation plan?

    Modern electric cars have been on U.S. roads for seven years or so, and owners love their smooth, quiet, close to noise-free operation. That silence has been a bone of contention for even longer, however, since hybrids operating purely on battery power are similarly quiet. For years, the U.S...

  • 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Sep 2016
    Feds issue mandatory-noise rule for new electric, hybrid cars

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finally issued mandatory-noise rules for so-called "quiet cars."

  • Lotus Safe & Sound noisemaker
    Pedestrian-Alert Noises For Electric, Hybrid Cars Delayed By NHTSA, Again

    A rule requiring pedestrian-alert noises for electric cars and hybrids is delayed until 2018.

  • 2014 Toyota Prius C
    Quiet-Car Rules Must Be Delayed, Automakers Say: NHTSA Not Ready

    The concern that very quiet hybrid and electric cars may pose a danger to unaware pedestrians has been around for a decade or more now. Back in 2010, Congress required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop rules for adding alert noises to cars running on silent electric...

  • Blind driver Steve Mahan in Google's Self-Driving Toyota Prius, March 2012
    Blind Man Drives Prius, With A Little Help From Google (Video)

    Steve Mahan got into a Toyota Prius hybrid, drove to the dry cleaner's, picked up some clothes he'd left to be cleaned, and drove home. The trip was about a mile and a half. Steve Mahan is legally blind. He's lost 95 percent of his vision. He did it, though, with a little help from Google. The car...

  • 2011 Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid hatchback, road test, June 2011

    You may or may not be happy to know that the new 2012 Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid hatchback will come with a new feature not found on the 2011 model. It will make more noise. For 2012, in addition to an optional F Sport package and a new color (Nebula Gray Pearl replaces Smoky Granite Mica, if you're keeping track), the CT 200h hybrid is fitted with what Lexus calls a "Vehicle Proximity Notification System." That's a noisemaker that switches on to emit "a low audible warning sound" whenever the hybrid runs in all-electric mode. The ostensible goal is to help "alert pedestrians and cyclists...

  • 2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - Bill Ford Jr.
    Ford Polls Facebook Fans For 2012 Focus Electric Noises (Video)

    Whether you think they're needed or not, all electric and hybrid cars are going to be required to fit noisemakers so that they can't be missed at speeds of 15 mph or below. To involve its fans, Ford posted four possible sounds for the noise that its upcoming 2012 Ford Focus Electric will emit as...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    Pedestrian Alert Noises Coming To Hybrid And Electric Cars, Needed Or Not

    If you like the idea of hybrid or electric cars that whir silently down the road without the noise of an engine exploding gasoline thousands of times each minute, you'd better act fast. The U.S. government is moving inexorably toward a rule requiring all hybrid and electric cars to make noise...

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf
    Electric Car Noise Generators Don't Work in the Real World

    Earlier this year we heard that the a United Nations committee on noise levels in plug-in vehicles was about to mandate that all plug-in cars be made to emit artificial noises when traveling at low speed. But as we’ve illustrated in the past, we’re not entirely convinced that forcing...

  • 2011 Hundai Sonata Hybrid, La Jolla, California, October 2010
    Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Delay: Deciding To Make It Make Noise, Always

    Hyundai is no friend to cheating spouses, that's for sure. Of course, neither is Congress (despite the recent Craigslist antics of former Representative Chris Lee). But perhaps we should start at the beginning. 'Vast defect' ?!?!? We've gotten several notes over the past few weeks from Colorado...

  • Lotus Safe & Sound noisemaker
    Ding-Ding-Ding! Electric Cars Likely To Be Made Noisier By Law

    In one particularly hilarious scene in the TV show Weeds, Mary-Louise Parker’s soccer mom/drug dealer character inspires a scary drug lord to buy several Toyota Priuses after he successfully carries out a drive-by shooting while riding in hers. The selling point? The quietness of the hybrid...

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt

    It looks like carmakers are going to make their quiet, electrically powered cars a lot noisier. And that's going to happen regardless of whether there's any actual data to support the notion that electric cars are so silent they pose a hazard to blind pedestrians. As of now, three different automakers have taken three different approaches, with more likely to be on the way in future models. Warbles, blips, or fake engine noises? The 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car automatically makes a kind of futuristic electronic warbling sound up to 12 miles per hour. Beyond that speed, tire noise suffices...

  • Pre-Production 2010 Toyota Prius in Orlando
    Toyota Prius To Make Noise During Electric Running, in Japan

    In another step toward making silent electric cars less so, Toyota Prius hybrids sold in Japan are to be offered with an optional system that broadcasts a "humming" noise outside the car whenever it operates solely on electricity. The system is Toyota's response to the fears of blind people that...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    Sounds For Silent EVs, More Data, Same Result: Not Needed?

    When we wrote about the debate over whether silent electric vehicles should have noise legislated into them, we obviously hit a nerve. Now EV enthusiast Mark Larsen has added further data to his original analysis of 1994-2008 traffic death figures from the Fatality Reporting System maintained by...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    Sounds For Silent EVs: Solving a Problem That May Not Exist

    It's a wonderful TV news flash: Blind people in peril from killer electric cars! News at 11. The fear is that electric vehicles are so silent that blind people can't hear them coming, so new draft safety regulations may now require electric vehicles to emit sounds. There's just one problem...

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf spied -- via Nissan-LEAF.net
    Nissan Leaf Audio Warnings Disappoints Advocates, Need For Sound Questioned.

    Ever think of the benefits of EVs? Aside from the more obvious ones associated with not burning quite as much oil, zero tailpipe emissions and ease of driving many will cite the lack of engine noise.  That last point however, may not be such a benefit to all and may even prove dangerous to those...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    But Would You WANT Your Prius To Sound Like a Spaceship?

    With early data now showing that hybrid cars seem to hit pedestrians more often, carmakers are ramping up efforts to find ways of alerting people when a nearby car is operating in electric mode. Now the UK's Group Lotus Engineering has come up with a noise-generating system, one of several...

  • Chevy Volt IVer

    Earlier this morning, we wrote about GM's announcement that engineers developing the 2011 Chevrolet Volt have partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to figure out "a safe level of sound" from the company's first extended-range electric vehicle. Our subsequent interview with Tony Posawatz, vehicle line director for the 2011 Volt extended-range electric car, helped us understand some details of the Volt's Pedestrian-Friendly Alert System that we hadn't known. Drivers to sound the alert For one thing, the system will be driver actuated, rather than automatically producing sound at...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    Do Hybrids Hit Pedestrians More Often? NHTSA Report May Say So

    Advocates for the blind have long been pushing for hybrid and electric cars to make some kind of artificial noise at low speeds, to alert people with vision impairment of their presence when operating in all-electric mode, which is quieter. But data on whether electric-drive cars actually hit...

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