January 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM EST
"Quiet-Car Rule" to Make EVs Noisier
After reviewing injuries from electric vehicles and hybrids due to low noise levels, the NHTSA could implement a rule requiring sound.

This Article Originally was Published here: http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/quiet-car-rule-to-make-evs-noisier/2976

The soundless engines of electric vehicles might get a lot noisier if a proposed U.S. legislation passes. The intent is to aid public safety by making electric vehicle and hybrid engines audible enough for pedestrians to become aware of the vehicles’ presence.

Under the “quiet-car rule,” the noise level would need to be audible when EVs are moving slower than 18 MPH. It’s possible, claims the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that the new ruling could save up to 35 lives per model year and prevent around 28,000 injuries.

From Bloomberg:

“To add about a $30 or $35 item to a car for this kind of injury and death prevention, it’s hard to argue against,” Jesse Toprak, an analyst for industry data provider TrueCar.com in Santa Monica, California, said in an interview. “I’m sure all of us have experienced at some time the fear of getting struck by a Prius.”

The cost of implementing this rule would be about $35 per light vehicle, or about $25 million annually, while $1.48 million of that annual cost would cover large vehicles and motorcycles.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) has already said it is reviewing the proposal and has expressed willingness to comply. In fact, the company’s star performer – the Prius – already offers such an option.

The reason for the 18 MPH requirement is that when electric vehicles move faster than that, they typically do make adequate sound to be readily audible. However, non-internal combustion engine cars just don’t make any sound while accelerating or idling, and this is an issue the NHTSA is investigating presently.

Back in 2011, the agency issued a report that stated ‘quiet cars’ are almost twice as likely to be involved in various accidents while slowing, backing up, or stopping compared to internal-combustion engine cars.

This Article Originally was Published here: http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/quiet-car-rule-to-make-evs-noisier/2976



"Quiet-Car Rule" to Make EVs Noisier originally appeared in Energy and Capital. Energy and Capital, a free daily newsletter, offers practical investment analysis in the new energy economy.
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