Electric cars are known for being energy efficient, small and quiet. It’s the last part that has some public activists crying foul and the federal government stepping in to make these cars a little less quiet.
The problem is that these quiet electric cars produce no warning noise for pedestrians-especially blind or vision impaired pedestrians-who might not realize they are close and could potentially step in front of them.
Advocates for the blind have been pushing the federal government to do something about these hazardous situation, and the feds have finally agreed. The new federal government mandate will force electric car manufacturers to install a special noise production device which will alert everyone the vehicle is coming, until it reaches 17mph. What is so far unclear is what sort of “noise” will be considered effective and how much this noise device will cost manufacturers and ultimately the consumers.
There is also something to be said for the fact that the quietness of these cars is a selling point. People like quiet cars. The people who are buying electric cars are the same people who are intentionally avoiding ‘noisy’, gas guzzling cars. They think noisy is uncool and quiet is “in.”
Will noisy electric cars sell as well as the quiet ones did? And given that the quiet ones haven’t been selling as everyone had hoped they would be by now, will this spell doom for electric automakers? Only time will tell.