Many people consider the quiet nature of electric vehicles is a boon, but there are others who are concerned that these silent cars could lead to an increase in pedestrian accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in the latter group, and the NHTSA has announced a proposal to include warning sounds on EVs going 18 mph or less.
If you’ve been following the EV saga here in America, you probably knew that this was an inevitability. Groups that represent blind Americans, the elderly, and traffic safety advocates have all been pushing for such legislation ever since hybrids like the Toyota Prius hit the streets. But with electric cars becoming increasingly commonplace, the NHTSA has decided that now is time to take action.
Some cars, like 2012 and up Toyota Prius hybrids, already have sound emitters, though drivers can turn them on and off at will. Ford has even asked fans what they think its Focus Electric vehicle should sound like.
The NHTSA proposal allows some flexibility in terms of what sound is used, and the system is expected to add just $30 per vehicle. The NHTSA estimates this will help prevent around 2,800 injuries, and 35 deaths, each year. The system will turn on and off automatically, and frankly, we’re interested to see what sorts of sounds automakers come up with. If supercar sounds aren’t an option though, and we’ll be disappointed.