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No Noise Pollution Here!

As hybrid and electric vehicles become more popular, advocates for the blind are reporting concerns about the lack of operating noise.   A 2009 government study found collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists more prevalent among hybrids than among gasoline-powered vehicles because it appears that these green vehicles just don’t produce enough noise – especially at low speeds – to warn pedestrians. Some auto makers are meeting that challenge by producing synthetic noise in their hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Infinity M35 and the Hyundai Sonata hybrid produce synthetic sounds. Likewise, the electric Nissan Leaf emits a whooshing sound at low speeds, and the Chevrolet Volt optionally produces a chirping sound and activates flashing lights if the driver activates the alert system. 

In January, 2011, President Obama signed a law which moves the effort along by designating a 2014 deadline for equipping these hybrid and electric models with synthetic sound that can be heard by pedestrians. So we'll look for more of the same results from other auto makers as more of these green vehicles hit the roads. 

 

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 19:50

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