Tue | Jan 23, 2018

US to require hybrid, electric cars to make noise

Published:Wednesday | November 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM
In this December 13, 2013 file photo (from left), electric cars from Nissan, Tesla and Toyota are presented at a news conference in Los Angeles. New rules released by the Obama administration on November 14, will require hybrids and electric autos to make noise as a safety measure.

New hybrid and electric cars are required to make noise when travelling at low speeds so that pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have poor eyesight, will hear them coming, under a new rule released Monday by the Obama administration.

The new rule could help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries a year once all hybrids on the road are equipped to make noise, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States.

Hybrid vehicles use both a gasolene engine and an electric motor. Electric motors, however, make very little noise compared to gasolene and diesel engines.

The rule requires hybrid and electric vehicles to make audible noise when travelling in reverse or forward at speeds up to about 19 miles per hour. The sound alert isn't required at higher speeds because other factors, such as tyre and wind noise, provide warning.

"We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger," said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear, as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety."

Manufacturers have until September 1, 2019 to equip all new hybrid and electric vehicles with sounds that meet the new federal safety standard. Half of new hybrid and electric vehicles must be in compliance one year before the final deadline.

- AP