NHTSA Issues New Rule — Electric Cars Must Make Noise; Wait, What?

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it a rule saying electric cars must make noise, to help pedestrians.

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The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a new rule, under which electric cars must make some noise when travelling at low speeds.

As bizarre as the rule sounds, it does make sense. The rule is to avoid pedestrians being caught off guard around electric vehicles, especially those who are visually impaired or people who are deaf.

Electric mobility is the future of automobiles as many carmakers have shifted focus from traditional internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles hardly make any noise, unlike their gas burning counterparts.

As per the new rule, all newly manufactured electric vehicles must make an audible noise when travelling at 19mph (30km/h) or below. The noise is mandatory only while the vehicle is travelling slow.

The NHTSA says that no noise is needed at higher speeds because of factors such as wind and tyre noise that are audible. Carmakers are free to choose if the car should beep or rumble like a good old V8, as the rule does not specify what noise the cars should make.

Electric carmakers have until September 1, 2019, to equip their vehicles with the new alert, but half of new hybrid and electric vehicles must be in compliance one year before the final deadline.

Carmakers are looking for ways to make electric cars make some noise, like Porsche for example, not because of the rule, but because sports car enthusiasts would be satisfied.

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