Listen, here comes an electric car
One of the inconveniences of electric cars (and paradoxically one of their great advantages) is being looked at by the European Union, and has led to action in the USA. Because these cars make virtually no noise at all, they are proving to be more dangerous for pedestrians, who clearly can’t hear them coming. In the USA, a survey by road safety agency NHTSA has found that they are twice as likely to collide with a pedestrian or cyclist as traditional cars.
The USA has therefore decided that from September of next year, small electric vehicles (cars and vans weighing less than 4.5 tonnes) will have to make a noise to signal their presence at speeds of under 30 km/h (20 mph). Above this speed, it is believed that tyre and wind noise is sufficient. The nature and volume of the noise has not been defined.
In Europe, the EU has launched a project under the name of eVADER which brings together companies including Nissan, Renault, PSA, Continental and Siemens. The objective is to develop what is being called ‘auditory technology’ to warn other road users of the approach of an EV, but while limiting as far as possible the amount of ‘noise pollution’ to be created. The addition of such a noise to all newly produced EVs may be obligatory as early as January 1st 2019.